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Roger Garland - Melkor chained.jpg
Physical Description
LocationIron Mountains; far north of Arda
RealmsMelkor's dominions
InhabitantsMelkor and his servants
Descriptionvast and very cold, with pits extending deep into the earth
General Information
Other namesUdûn (S)
EtymologyUnderworld; Hell (Q)
EventsSiege of Utumno
ReferencesThe Silmarillion

Utumno (Q: "Underworld; Hell", pron. [uˈtumno], stem Utumnu-; Udûn in Sindarin) was a fortress of Melkor in the far north of Middle-earth. It was the first and greatest of Melkor's citadels, delved in the earliest days.

[edit] History

Utumno was built by Melkor after his first expulsion from Arda. The Valar had by this time created the Two Lamps, and Utumno was built around the Valian Year 3400 under the Iron Mountains, where the light of Illuin was very dim. Here were gathered all the evil powers of the World under the Lord of Darkness. Their numbers were in legions and Melkor created many new and dreadful forms.

Melkor used Utumno as his base of operations for 1,200 Valian Years, and from here he destroyed the Two Lamps and began his corruption of Arda[1]. Utumno was also where the first captured Elves were taken and the breeding of Orcs began. It was the largest architectural structure ever to have existed, surpassing Angband and Thangorodrim in the First Age and Barad-dûr in the Second and Third Age.

Utumno was laid waste in Y.T. 1099, in the war that the Valar began against Melkor because of their discovery of the Elves. Melkor was chained and dragged as a captive to Valinor.[2]

Melkor established a second and lesser fortress at the western end of the Ered Engrin to act as the first line of defense for Utumno. This became Angband, which was at first held by Sauron. After the destruction of Utumno, Melkor chose to rebuild and fortify Angband as his lair.

[edit] Other Versions of the Legendarium

Tolkien was not entirely consistent with the location of Utumno, but it was always located within the northern Middle Earth, in or behind the Iron Mountains. As noted from one of Tolkien's earlier sketch maps about Utumno from the Ambarkanta, Utumno was previously spelled as "Utumna" and was north of the Iron Mountains, towards the western end of the mountain chain.[3]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Beginning of Days"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "IV. The First 'Silmarillion' Map"