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Fornost Erain

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Fornost Erain
Fornost rotwk.JPG
General Information
Other namesDeadmen's Dike, Norbury of the Kings
LocationNorth Downs
Reunited Kingdom
People and History
EventsFall of Fornost
"Deadmen's Dike, you say. So it has been called for long years; but its right name, Barliman, is Fornost Erain, Norbury of the Kings."

Fornost Erain was the capital of Arthedain. It was located at the south end of the North Downs, about 100 Númenórean miles north of Bree, at the northern terminus of the North-South Road.[2]



Early history

It is not known when Fornost was founded, although this most probably occurred after the establishment of the realm of Arnor in S.A. 3320[3] since there is no record of the Númenóreans penetrating so far north before the Downfall of Númenor. The city did exist at the beginning of the Third Age for after the fall of Sauron the Army of Arnor marched west through the Fords of Isen and continued north to Fornost.[4]

It is also unknown exactly when the kings of Arnor moved there from Annúminas. In T.A. 861, when King Eärendur died, Arnor was divided into three kingdoms.[5] The capital of the new realm of Arthedain may have been moved immediately to Fornost, but may have lingered for some time in Annuminas. In 1409, when the Witch-king of Angmar took the Tower of Amon Sûl, the palantír was saved and carried back to Fornost.[6]


Main article: Fall of Fornost

In T.A. 1974, Arthedain was overrun by the forces of Angmar. Fornost was captured, and King Arvedui fled into the northern wastes and was lost in the Icebay of Forochel with the two palantirs he had saved from the forces of Angmar. In the following year, a fleet of ships from Gondor, led by Eärnur, landed at Mithlond. The Elves of Lindon, led by Círdan, joined the forces of Gondor, the remaining Dúnedain of the North came, and so did a few archers from the Shire. Eärnur fought the Witch-king of Angmar in the plains west of Fornost and defeated the armies of Angmar, but the Witch-king himself escaped.[6]

Deadmen's Dike

After Fornost Erain was abandoned, the inhabitants of the nearest settlement, Bree, referred to it as Deadmen's Dike, and did not come there. Only Rangers came there from time to time, but no-one knew what they did there.[7]

After King Elessar reunited the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor, he had the city rebuilt and made a great city where Men dwelt once again.[1]


Fornost Erain is Sindarin. It means "Northern Fortress (of the) Kings"; from forn "north" and ost "fortress", and erain is the plural of aran. The Fornost component is a direct cognate to Quenya Formenos.

It was translated as "Norbury of the Kings" (from supposedly Old English norð-burg[8]), which represents its Westron name.

Portrayal in Adaptations

Pictures of adaptations of Fornost

2006: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king:

In the expansion pack, The Rise of the Witch-king, Fornost is besieged by the forces of the Witch-king.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Fornost Erain is simply called Fornost and is located in the northern end of the North Downs. It is populated with wights, orcs and wargs.

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North:

The first chapter of the game is centered around Fornost. Agandaûr has assembled an army of Orcs of the Misty Mountains in Fornost, and prepared to attack the Free Peoples.[9] Eradan, Andriel and Farin infiltrate Fornost on Aragorn's orders. They free the captured Eagle, Belarum,[10] and work together with Elladan and Elrohir to stop Agandaûr.[11] Agandaûr flees and Tharzog - leader of the Orcs - is killed. After which the Orcs remain leaderless and inter factional fighting starts, hereby preventing an attack.[12]
Visitable locations are the Main Gate, the Battlements, the Inner and Outer wards and the Citadel.[13]


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Homeward Bound"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Strider"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 774 (entry Norbury)
  9. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Prologue
  10. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Main Gate
  11. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Inner Wards
  12. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Citadel Tower
  13. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost