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Dark Land

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This article is about the mysterious dark continent. For the other "Dark Land" in Middle-earth, see Mordor.
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Dark Land
Physical Description
LocationArda, east of Belegaer and the innner East Sea
RealmsNone known
DescriptionA continent in the far south and east
General Information
Other namesSouth Land

The Dark Land, also referred to as the South Land, was a continent that lay south-east of Middle-earth.[1] The Dark Land was created as a by-product of the War for the Sake of the Elves.[2][3]

[edit] History

Originally, Middle-earth was one landmass, set between the western sea of Belegaer and the East Sea.[4] This changed during the War in which the Valar overthrew Melkor in his original fortress of Utumno: the inland Sea of Ringil,[note 1] originally set in the mid-south of Middle-earth, grew in size and "became a great sea flowing north-eastward and joining by straights both the Western and Eastern Seas."[2] This event split Middle-earth into two landmasses; and the Dark Land was the landmass to the south and east of the former of Sea of Ringil.[3][1]

No inhabitants of the Dark Land were ever officially recorded.

[edit] Inspiration

The Dark Land has no role in the legendarium and is named only in an early map by Tolkien,[1] likely dating to the mid-1930s.[5][6]

Fans have suggested and discussed different theories of inspiration behind this notion:

  • the Dark Land as reminiscent of Lemuria.[7]
  • the Dark Land as perhaps representing a combination of both Australia and Antarctica (because of its geographic position).[8]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Although never fleshed out in much detail, a "dark continent" called Mórenorë is said to be situated south of Middle-earth, separated by the sea of Haragaer.[9] A few glimpses of this remote continent, however, were provided:
  • A black cold-drake, Naikamil, fled from mountains in the south of Endor to Mórenorë after killing her mate.[10]
  • Ungoliant, a monster of the Elder Days, is said to have "settled in the shadowy reaches of Morenórë, the Dark Continent",[note 2] according to tales of the Avari Elves.[11]
  • Ninko Goldmaster, a mysterious merchant appearing as a character in an adventure setting, is rumoured to have visited distant lands, including Mórenorë.[12]

[edit] See also


  1. Ringil confusingly was also called the "East Sea" by Tolkien
  2. Inspired by a passage in The Silmarillion, which says that Ungoliant went "into the forgotten south of the world", after having dwelt at Nan Dungortheb (cf. "Of the Flight of the Noldor").


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Map V"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Of the Fashion of the World", pp. 293-294
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Commentary on the Ambarkanta", p. 305
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Map IV"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, pp. 9, 108
  6. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: II. Reader's Guide, p. 42
  7. Message 35418 (dated 8 May 2009) at Elfling (accessed 20 October 2011)
  8. "Dark Land...a continent south of Middle Earth?" at The Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza Forum (accessed 20 October 2011)
  9. Peter C. Fenlon, Jr., Jessica M. Ney-Grimm, Terry K. Amthor (1993), Middle-earth Campaign Guide (#2003), pp. 7, 9
  10. Ruth Sochard Pitt, Jeff O'Hare, Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1994), Creatures of Middle-earth (2nd edition) (#2012), p. 102
  11. Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1993), Valar and Maiar (#2006), p. 117
  12. Peter C. Fenlon, Coleman Charlton, Jessica Ney, John Croudis, Keith Robley, Anders Blixt (1990), Gorgoroth (#3112), p. 117