Illustration of the Wilderland, or Rhovanion, from The Hobbit.

Rhovanion or Wilderland was a large region of northern Middle-earth. The Great River Anduin flowed through it, and the immense forest of Greenwood the Great was a part of it.

Properly speaking Rhovanion was the name of a small region east of Greenwood, which later was the Kingdom of Rhovanion, but the name was used for all of Wilderland by the late Third Age.

Its boundaries were: To the east, the inland Sea of Rhûn. To the north, the Grey Mountains (Ered Mithrin) and Iron Hills, home of the Dwarves. To the west, the range of the Hithaeglir, or Misty Mountains. To the south, the line marked by the Limlight river, Anduin, Emyn Muil, Dagorlad, and the Ash Mountains (Ered Lithui).

Important rivers were the Anduin or Great River, the River Running (Celduin), and the Carnen or Redwater.

Major features were the forest of Mirkwood, and the Long Lake of Esgaroth (Laketown).


In the First Age the elves passed through it during the Great Journey, and much later the Atanatári (Fathers of Men) followed them. It is not otherwise mentioned until the Second Age, when it played host to two Silvan elf kingdoms ruled by Sindarin lords: Northern Greenwood and Lórinand (or Lórien). The great battlefield (or Dagorlad) of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men against the host of Sauron lay in the south of Rhovanion, and in the Gladden Fields of the Great River the King of Gondor and Arnor, Isildur, son of Elendil, was killed.

In the early Third Age it was a quite populated area: in the north lay the Dwarven Kingdom of the Lonely Mountain or Erebor and the Mannish kingdom of Dale, in the north of the Great River Anduin lay the Mannish realm of Éothéod, and in and around the south and east of Greenwood the Great lived the Men of Rhovanion. In the north of Greenwood lived the Silvan elves ruled by Thranduil, and in the south of Greenwood and across the river in Lórinand ruled Amdír and later Amroth. In the far south, near the great falls of Sarn Gebir, watched the northern guard of Gondor, and in the valleys of the Anduin lived Stoors (Hobbits).

In the later Third Age, Rhovanion was the site of many wars, when the Wainriders came from the east and assailed the people of Rhovanion until all their kingdoms were destroyed, and later when Sauron returned as the Necromancer he took residence at Dol Guldur in the south of Greenwood. Greenwood became evil, and was renamed Mirkwood. The Dwarves of Erebor and the Men of Dale were destroyed and scattered when the dragon Smaug took Lonely Mountain, and Gondor retreated from the Falls. Some Men still lived along the forest, notably the Beornings and the Men of Esgaroth (Laketown) upon the Long Lake. The Men of Éothéod, later the Rohirrim removed south at the invitation of Gondor, and settled the plains of Calenardhon, later Rohan.

At the end of the Third Age, the Kingdoms of Erebor and Dale were restored as a result of the death of Smaug and the Battle of Five Armies, and Sauron was removed from Mirkwood by the wizard Gandalf. During the War of the Ring it held off an invasion by Sauron's forces, and after Sauron was defeated Mirkwood was clean again, and renamed Eryn Lasgalen, or "Wood of Greenleaves". Some time during the Fourth Age Gondor claimed large parts of it.

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Important Places

Mirkwood(formerly Greenwood)- massive forest that took up a large portion of Rhovanion, inhabited by Elves in the north and evil creatures such as giant spiders in the south. Dol Guldur, a ruined fortress of evil, was in the far southern reaches of the forest

Erebor(the Lonely Mountain)- dwarf kingdom recaptured in The Hobbit. Many of the finest crafted things in Middle-Earth came from the dwarf craftsmen living here.

Dale- city of Men located on the edge of Erebor, destroyed by Smaug but rebuilt by Bard after the events of The Hobbit.

Esgaroth- city of Men located on Long Lake that functioned as a trade hub, destroyed by Smaug but rebuilt by Bard, most of its population moved to Dale

King Thranduil's Hall- seat of the Wood Elves located in Mirkwood

Portrayal in Adaptations

Translations around the World

Foreign Language Translated name
Portuguese (Brazil) Rhovanion a.k.a. Terras Ermas
Portuguese (Portugal) Rhovanion a.k.a. Terra Selvagem
Spanish (Spain and Latin America) Rhovanion a.k.a. Tierras Ásperas
Italian Rhovanion a.k.a. Terre Selvagge
German Rhovanion a.k.a. Wilderland


Rhovanion is a Sindarin word that meant 'Wilderland'.

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