11/14/2020 – CKM Tol Fuin, Sanctuary for Evil and the final resting place of Sauron’s broken spirit Tol Fuin, a small island North-East of the Grey Havens, is the last remaining piece of Morgoth’s realm to stay above the ocean through the Second Age and beyond. Tol Fuin is alone but for two small neighbors, the likely desolate Tol Morwen where lies the Stone of the Hapless, and Himling, the mountain island where Maedhros once ruled form his fortress on Himring before the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. Together the three are known as the Western Isles. When Morgoth fell, the forces of evil, the forces of good, the forces of nature, and those that are other, were all forced to flee the land around Utumno as the sea crept in, forever changing the coast of Middle-Earth. Before Morgoth’s final defeat at Utumno, and the corresponding changing of the world, the island now called Tol Fuin was a great highland forest known as Dorthonion. Treebeard reminisces fondly on the memory of wintering among the pine trees in Dorthonion when telling Merry and Pippen about the history of the Ents. Tolkien tells us that Dorthonion was sixty leagues from east to west . Once ruled by Elves and allied men, the land was ultimately conquered by Morgoth, yet this land alone amongst Morgoth’s realm was saved from the incoming sea after the arch-demon’s final defeat by the Valar. After its corruption by Morgoth, Dorthonion was forever known as Taur-Nu-Fuin (the forest under nightshade) where even the trees seemed possessed by evil. Sauron felt safe in the forest, and after his defeat by Huan, he fled to the forest in the form of a great vampire to recover from defeat amongst the evil within. The lands of Dorthonion were corrupted by great evil, and not by Morgoth alone. After destroying the Trees of the Valar, Ungoliant fled to hide in the mountains of Ered Gorgoroth which border Dorthonion, spawning her brood of spiders spinning webs of darkness so black that not even the Valar could see through them. Her progeny long bred amongst these terrible mountains before they sank below the sea, however, the land of Dorthonion directly north of them remained above water. It is quite possible that Shelob is not the only great spider surviving on Middle- Earth, as much of her family may still reside in the highland forests on Tol Fuin. The great spiders would be loathe to abandon their slowly sinking home within the Mountains of Terror, yet some would have likely escaped to the only dry land available once even the highest mountains began to disappear below the waves. Though believed by many to have consumed herself, if still alive, Ungoliant herself would most likely be on the isle. While recovering from his loss against Huan, it is likely that Sauron encountered some of the children of Ungoliant within the forests of Taur-Nu-Fuin, which may explain his affinity, or ambivalence, for the frequent orc-eater Shelob. It is even possible that some servants of Morgoth may still be alive, safe in the last vestige of their Master’s kingdom. Tolkien points out that there are labyrinthine tunnels beneath the great fortress of Utunmo that connect directly to Dorthonion. Because the Valar drove all of the forces of Morgoth through the front gates of Utunmo, and led their assault forward from that direction, it is likely that many of Morgoth’s escaping servants found themselves within the forests of Dorthonion as they sought to escape the Valar’s wrath. Many may lie in hiding within the northern mountains of Tol Fuin, secretly surviving and waiting to be discovered in a manner similar to the Balrog of Moria, which escaped through the deep tunnels under Utunmo and eventually found its way underneath the far more distant Misty Mountains. After the fall of Numenor, Sauron’s body was broken and his spirit fled with the one ring to hide for the next 500 years. Naught is known about his location, but there are few places within Middle-Earth that the spirit of Sauron could live unnoticed for hundreds of years; even in his guise at Dol Guldor as The Necromancer, his presence was strongly suspected by Gandalf. It is possible that Sauron sought refuge upon the isle of Tol Fuin, where none in Middle-Earth would ever detect him. Here, Sauron could bathe in the last vestiges of the evil wrought by Melkor, regain his strength, and plan his return to Middle-Earth. To explore where Sauron may have hidden after his body was destroyed, it is important to understand that Sauron is a creature of habit. Gandalf suspected that Sauron may have been the evil force within the fortress of Dol Guldor, and Sauron fled to the east to avoid detection, yet hundreds of years later Sauron returns to Dol Guldor during the events of The Hobbit. After his defeat in Mordor by the Last Alliance, Sauron still returns to Mordor to stage his final assault on Middle-Earth, again hundreds of years later. So, perhaps, during this time where none in Middle- Earth knew his whereabouts, Sauron could have been hiding safely on Tol Fuin, the island which had once been the forest where he had sought refuge after his defeat by the great hound Huan. Sauron still feels a connection to Morgoth, as evidenced by his establishment of a religion upon the isle of Numenor which was dedicated to the worship of Melkor. If Sauron had no connection to Morgoth, he would have likely established himself as the head of this religion; that he selected Melkor shows he still longs to connect to his former master. After his first great destruction during the fall of Numenor, a loss greater than his defeat by Haun, it is likely that Sauron would want to seek safety and solitude in the last lonely place with a connection to his former master. The corrupted forests of Taur-Nu-Fuin would provide an appealing opportunity to do so when Sauron was once again at his weakest. Shielded from the eyes of even the most wise and powerful on Middle-Earth, Tol Fuin stands alone as a sanctuary for evil and a land fully isolated. This begs the question, where would Sauron hide after his final defeat? With the one ring destroyed, his power is all but dissolved, yet as a Maiar bound to Middle- Earth, Sauron’s spirit cannot be wholly destroyed. A wandering malignant spirit devoid of all its former strength, Sauron would most likely follow his previous behavior patterns after suffering a catastrophic defeat and seek refuge and sanctuary in a place of evil and solitude, a place that is familiar to him. The risk of the unknown when seeking out a “new” location would be too great; other beings of power may detect the remnants of his spirit and cause him further anguish, humiliation, and suffering. Additionally, Sauron would above all else seek solitude; Mordor would offer no more secrecy and security than the white tower of Minas Tirith after the pits of Gorgoroth were laid bare in his defeat. Dol Goldur, so near Lorien as well as the kingdom of Thranduil, would also lead to his ultimate detection by the powerful and wise of Middle-Earth. None of his former haunts could provide the isolation, safety, and aura-of-evil that the dethroned demi-god would surely require. At his weakest, he would seek out the known, a place where he felt the most isolated and secure. What better place for his impotent spirit to spend its final days, waiting for the end of all things amongst the few remaining evils of his former master’s glory, than the secluded isle of Tol Fuin? Notes  see Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth, pages 137-153, The stone of the hapless commemorates Turin, slayer of the first dragon Glaurung, his sad and beautiful sister Nienor, and their mother Morwen.  see The Silmarillion, Map of Bereliand and the Lands to the North, which shows Rivil’s Well, the source of the Rivil river, wherein Beren avenged his father by slaying the orc captain; Ladros, former elven kingdom of Angrod and Aegnor and gift to the men of Beor; the lake of Aeluin; Ered Gorgoroth, the Mountains of Terror; and the great hidden city of Gondolin.  see The Silmarillion, Pages 154 and 155  see The Lord of the Rings, Page 490.  see The Silmarillion, Page 119.  see The Silmarillion, Page 51.  see The Silmarillion, Page 175 , and the story of the great hound Huan’s defeat of Sauron.  see The Silmarillion, Page 90.  see The Simlarillion, Pages 80 and 81, which show that Ungoliant’s ultimate disposal remains unknown. While many believe that she consumed herself because of her unending hunger, her actual death has never been confirmed. Indeed, no word was ever heard of her again after hiding in the Mountains of Terror.  see The Silmarillion, Page 207, which shows that the Elven slaves of Morgoth would sometimes escape from his fortress via tunnels that led to the forests.  see The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, Page 1120, no word of Sauron was heard for 500 years, at which point he returned to Middle-Earth after the fall of Numenor.  see The Silmarillion, Page 271, where Sauron convinces the Numenorian king Ar-Pharazon to worship the darkness and Melkor. These events ultimately led to the downfall of Numenor. Works Cited Tolkien, J. R. R. (edited by Christopher Tolkien), The History of Middle-Earth vols. 1-12. London: HarperCollins Publishers, 2015. Tolkien, J. R. R. (Illustrated by Alan Lee), The Lord of the Rings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1991. Tolkien, J. R. R. (edited by Christopher Tolkien), The Silmarillion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001. Tolkien, J. R. R. (edited by Christopher Tolkien), Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth. New York: The Random House Publishing Group, 1988.