The Lonely Mountain, or Erebor, was a mountain northeast of Rhovanion. It was also the source of the River Running. For many ages of Middle-earth, it had been inhabited by the Dwarves of Durin's Folk up until the later half of the Third Age and then again in its closing years and into the Fourth Age.
Years of the Trees and First AgeEdit
The Dwarves of Durin's Folk discovered the mineral wealth of the Lonely Mountain sometime after the awakening of the first Durin. A mining colony was soon set up and a road was laid out to connect the dwarves to their great cities from the Iron Hills and as far west as their realms and possessions in the Blue Mountains.
Second and Third AgesEdit
In the BeginningEdit
The Dwarves may have lived and mined in the mountain during the Second Age, but it wasn't until the mid-Third Age that the colony had become a firmly established Kingdom of the Dwarves after the fall of the ancient Kingdom of Khazad-dûm due to the awakening of the Balrog known as Durin's Bane in TA 1981. The survivors under Thráin I followed him to the Lonely Mountain and the colony became the ancestral home of the King under the Mountain. By TA 1999, it had become a Dwarven stronghold, where the Dwarves became a numerous and prosperous people. In this time, the Dwarves became very rich and amassed a large amount of gold and treasure which included the jewel known as the Arkenstone. Thrain I used the Arkenstone as a sigil of his rule, and his sons and grandsons under him who were to follow.
For two-hundred and eleven years the kingdom advanced, expanded, prospered, and endured until Thorin I abandoned it to join his kin in the Grey Mountains, and the Lonely Mountain was abandoned for three-hundred and eighty years. However, the Dwarves of the Grey Mountains began experiencing attacks by the dragons that still lived in those mountains, and became embroiled in a costly war against them, forcing the Dwarves to abandon the Grey Mountains in TA 2590. The Dwarves went their separate ways with Grór and his followers settling in the Iron Hills and Thrór and his followers settling in the Lonely Mountain.
While Thorin Oakenshield was out hunting one day in TA 2770, Smaug came from the mountains and invaded the Lonely Mountain, hoarding all its wealth for himself. Thráin II and several companions escaped by a secret door. For many years thereafter the dwarves lived in exile in the Blue Mountains until, by a seemingly chance meeting, Gandalf the Grey met Thorin Oakenshield and together they planned to reclaim the mountain. This is told in detail in The Quest of Erebor and described by Tolkien's song, "Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold."
The Quest of EreborEdit
In TA 2941, Bilbo Baggins and Thorin's company traveled to the Lonely Mountain to regain the treasure Smaug had stolen. Set into the side of the mountain was a secret door, five feet high and wide enough for three to walk through abreast. Gandalf had managed to obtain the door's key, which fit a key hole which could be found only when the setting sun and the last moon of autumn were in the sky would the light shine upon the keyhole. As told by Tolkien in The Hobbit, it took many days to find the door, and luckily for Thorin and Company they did not arrive on Durin's day so they had plenty of time to enter the mountain.
Smaug was eventually slain, shot out of the sky by a well-aimed arrow to his only weak spot by Bard the Bowman, a man of Laketown, also known as Esgaroth, who later became king of the Men in the area known as Dale adjoining the Lonely Mountain. Thorin thus reclaimed the mountain, but the Elves of Mirkwood and Men of Lake-town claimed a part of the treasure, which Thorin refused to share. Dáin II Ironfoot came to the aid of his cousin Thorin, and the three Free Peoples almost did battle with one another, but then Orcs attacked and the Dwarves, elves, and men joined ranks together with the eagles against the Orcs, in what became known as the Battle of the Five Armies. During the battle Thorin was mortally injured, and the titles King under the Mountain and King of Durin's Folk passed to Dáin.
War of the RingEdit
Battle of DaleEdit
The demise of Smaug was not to be the last of Lonely Mountain's many troubles. In TA 3019 on the 17th of March, a horde of Easterling soldiers from Rhûn swarmed over the Redwater river, opening up a second front in the northern theater of the War of the Ring. The sheer force of the feared and renowned Easterlings crushed the Men of Dale and routed their forces, which had to rally back to the protection of the Lonely Mountain.
The Dwarves and Men fought a pitched battle against the invaders, eventually emerging victorious over their opponents. The impregnable gates and walls of the Lonely Mountain, furnished and extensively worked with advanced, complex and intricate Dwarven stonework, defense planning and smith-work, easily withstood the siege equipment of the Easterlings. The Lonely Mountain itself was a key strong-point and gave its defenders great tactical leverage against the attackers, being able to shoot arrows and fling stones down below in reprisal. The many years invested in improving the Lonely Mountain's defenses had paid off, and the defenders outlasted the Easterlings in the siege. The Easterlings then withdrew, suffering disproportionate casualties because of their botched campaign and their difficulty in combating the Dwarven technology, weapons, armor and defenses.
Erebor was a minor place for battle during The War of the Ring. The city took a small hit but it was rebuilt during the Fourth Age with the help of men and all of the Dwarves. With the restoration of the Kingdom under the Mountain the area became prosperous again. Dwarves and Men reforged their friendship. Dáin was killed during the War of the Ring, and was succeeded by his son Thorin III Stonehelm who ruled well into the Fourth Age. During this time, Dwarves from the Lonely Mountain helped rebuild cities in Gondor and the fortress of Helm's Deep, and some went to the newly established Dwarven realm of the Glittering Caves where Gimli was lord. Nevertheless, the Kingdom of Erebor apparently continued to prosper throughout the Fourth Age.
Portrayals in adaptationsEdit
The Hobbit film trilogyEdit
Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy (2012) featured computer-generated shots of the Lonely Mountain, Dale, and other Dwarven cities.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Second Age"
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, III: Durin's Folk
- ↑ Unfinished Tales, Part Three: The Third Age, III: "The Quest of Erebor"