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The interior of the High Fells as seen in The Desolation of Smaug

The High Fells of Rhudaur was the location of the tombs made for the Nazgûl, created following their defeat at the hands of the Men of Arnor.

Described more as a prison of the dead than as a grave, the tombs were located north of the Trollshaws within the boundaries of the old kingdom of Rhudaur; near the source of the river Hoarwell and south of the Coldfells.

The High Fells and its corresponding history were created for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy, and are thus non-canonical.

Portrayal in adaptations

The Hobbit film trilogy

In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the tombs are first mentioned by Lady Galadriel during the meeting of the White Council in Rivendell as part of their discussion concerning the rediscovery of the Witch-king of Angmar's Morgul-blade by Radagast in the ruins of Dol Guldur. The tombs are revealed as the location where the Witch-king was buried following the fall of the realm of Angmar, entombed there by the men of the North. The tombs themselves are said to be so dark that they would never come to light. As noted by Elrond, powerful spells lie upon the tombs, which should have prevented the crypts from ever being opened. Saruman however, rules that there is not enough proof that the Morgul-blade actually originated from the Witch-king's grave, and dismisses it.

In the film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, upon arrival at the forest border of Mirkwood, Gandalf discovers Black Speech graffiti imprinted on an old ruin, coinciding with a telepathic message from Galadriel imploring him to investigate the tombs of the Nazgûl. In the extended version, Beorn reveals that he heard rumors of the dead walking near the High Fells and asks Gandalf if there are tombs there. Gandalf remembers Galadriel's words and a flashback shows the Witch-king, as a dead man wrapped in cloth and chains, being buried by the men of the north. Gandalf then journeys to Rhudaur, and confirms the tombs' existence there.

When Gandalf reaches the remote tomb of the Nazgul, he finds the crypts empty, broken open from within. He is joined by Radagast, and the two realize that the Necromancer cannot be a mere human, as the Nazgûl answer only to one master: Sauron, who must have returned and will have summoned the Ringwraiths to Dol Guldur. Radagast persuades Gandalf, who wishes to rejoin Thorin and Company, to instead investigate the ruins of Dol Guldur, in an effort to confirm their fears regarding the true identity of the Necromancer. Upon reaching the fortress, Gandalf sends Radagast to warn Galadriel of their discovery before entering himself, where he is soon attacked by Azog.


  • As a plot device, the resurrection of the Nazgûl ostensibly serves to justify the use of the moniker The Necromancer, as used in the novel when referring to the dark presence dwelling within Dol Guldur, in that a necromancer is someone who communicates with and summons the spirits of the dead.
  • It is interesting to note that a Púkel-man is located outside of the tombs, as is seen when Radagast and Gandalf discuss the Necromancer after discovering the Ringwraiths had escaped.
  • The High Fells also feature in the Middle-earth Role Playing Game[1].


Translations around the world

Foreign Language Translated name
Chinese (Hong Kong) 魯道爾荒陵
Dutch Hoge Fjell van Rhudaur
French Hauts Monts du Rhudaur
Hungarian Rhudaur Kopár Felföldje
Polish Wysokie Turnie Rhudauru
Portuguese (Brazil) Altas Colinas de Rhudaur
Spanish Altos Páramos de Rhudaur


  1. See, accessed 10-05-2017, 11:27 CET.
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