Fortress of Melkor in the First Age

“In the north of the world Melkor had in the ages past reared Ered Engrin, the Iron Mountains, as a fence to his citadel of Utumno;
and they stood upon the borders of the regions of everlasting cold, in a great curve from east to west.

The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion Ch 14 Of Beleriand and Its Realms

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Utumno also known as Udûn was the first and greatest of the evil citadels created by Melkor in Middle-earth. The Dark Lord delved deep under the Iron Mountains to create his fortress, far from the light of Illuin and Ormal. It was under the earth that Melkor bred a whole host of dark servants in mockery of the Firstborn., who would plague Middle-earth ever after. It was also the abode of the fallen Ainur and Maiar, who allied themselves with Melkor, and became demons of shadow and flame.

Utumno1Melkor delved deep into the flesh of the earth. Creating his fortress for war, with many armories, forges, dungeons and breeding pits. Using the fires under the earth he made tunnels and rooms of black obsidian and closer to the surface places of frigid ice and stone. Throughout all of Utumno and the lands surrounding it. The malice of Melkor spread outward like a plague upon the earth make rank and poisonous all living things.

Melkor wrought Utumno during the Years of the Lamps and it would not be until the Years of the Trees that Utumno was laid waste and Melkor imprisoned. Utumno was utterly destroyed and would never more be a fortress of evil in Middle-earth.

Melkor deemed the his hour had come. And he passed therefore over the Walls of Night with his host, and came to Middle-earth far in the north; and the Valar were not aware of him.
Now Melkor began the delving and building of a vast fortress, under the Earth, beneath the dark mountains where the beams of Illuin were cold and dim. That stronghold was named Utumno. And though the Valar knew naught of it as yet, nonetheless the evil of Melkor and the blight of his hatred flowed out thence, and the Spring of Arda was marred. Green things grew sick and rotted, and rivers were choked with weeds and slime, and fens were made, rank and poisonous, the breeding place of flies; and forest grew dark and perilous, the haunts of fear; and beasts became monsters of horn and ivory and dyed the earth with blood.
Then the Valar knew indeed that Melkor was at work again, and they sought out his hiding place.  But Melkor, trusting in the strength of Utumno and the might of his servants, came forth suddenly to war, and struck the first blow, ere the Valar were prepared, and he assailed the lights of Illuin and Ormal, and cast them down from their pillars and broke their lamps. 
In the overthrow of the mighty pillars lands were broken and the seas arose in tumult; and when the lamps were spilled destroying flame was poured out over the Earth. And the shape of Arda and the symmetry of it’s waters and its lands were marred in that time, so the the first designs of the Valar were never after restored.
In the confusion and the darkness Melkor escaped.

From The Silmarillions in the chapter ‘Of the Beginning of Days.’


Many of the Children of Ilúvatar fell under the shadow of Melkor and so were drawn into his service or became slaves to his will…

But of those unhappy one who were ensnared by Melkor little is known of a certainty. For who of the living has descended into the pits of Utumno, or explored the darkness of the counsels Melkor? 
Yet this is held true by the wise of Eressëa, that all those of the Quendi who came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put in prison, and by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved: and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes. For the Orcs had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Ilúvatar, and naught the had life of it’s own, nor the semblance of life, could Melkor make since his rebellion in Ainulindale before the beginnings: so say the wise. 
And deep in their dark hearts the orcs loathed the Master whom they served in fear, the maker only of misery. This it may be was the vilest deed of Melkor, and the most hateful for Ilúvatar.

From The Silmarillions in the chapter ‘Of the Coming of the Elves.’


When finally the Valar came to destroy the evil of Melkor in his fortress of Utumno, it was to save the Children of Ilúvatar and Melkor would never forgive them for his downfall.

Melkor met the onset of the Valar in the North-west of Middle-earth, and all that region was much broken. But the first victory of the hosts of the West was swift, and the servants of Melkor fled before them to Utumno. Then the Valar passed over Middle-earth, and the set a guard over Cuiviénen; and thereafter the Quendi knew nothing of the great Battle of the Powers, save  that the Earth shook and groaned beneath them, and the waters  were moved, and in the north there were lights as of mighty fires. Long a grievous was the siege of Utumno, and many battles were fought before it’s gates of which naught but the rumor is known to the Elves. In the time the shape of Middle-earth was changed, and the Great Sea that sundered it from Aman grew wide and deep; and it broke in upon the coasts and made a deep gulf to the southward. Many lesser bays were made between the Great Gulf and Helcaraxë  far in the north, where Middle-earth and Aman came together. Of these the Bay of Belar was the chief; and into it the mighty river Sirion flowed down from the new-raised highlands northwards: Dorthonion, and the mountains about Hithlum. The lands of the far north were all made desolate in those days; for there Utumno was delved exceedingly deep, and its pits were filled with fires and with great hosts of the servants of Melkor.
But the last gates of Utumno were broken and the halls unroofed, and Melkor took refuge in the uttermost pit. Then Tulkas stood forth as
champion of the Valar and wrestled with him, and cast him upon his face; and he was bound with the chain Angainor the Aulë had wrought, and led captive; and the world had peace for a long age.
Nonetheless the Valar did not discover all the mighty vaults and caverns hidden with deceit far under the fortress of Angband and Utumno. Many evil things still lingered there, and others were dispersed and fled into the dark and roamed in the waste places of the world, awaiting a more evil hour; and Sauron they did not find.

From The Silmarillions in the chapter ‘Of the Coming of the Elves.’


‘Melkor, trusting in the strength of Utumno and the might of his servants, came forth suddenly to war.’


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 Posted by at 5:45 am