Erebor: The Lonely Mountain


Staff member
The mountain known of course from The Hobbit. It is the source of the river Running.

Tolkien's illustration:

Tolkien could have gotten the idea of this mountain during his trip to the Alps in 1911. He could have seen the Matterhorn. Or perhaps not - I'm not sure at all that he was anywhere near the Matterhorn actually. From what I have found, he was defenitely some distance to the north of the Matterhorn: Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken and Grindelwald. Anyway, it is a 'lonely mountain', even though it's in the Alps:
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Well-Known Member
I did a Google image search for visually similar images and found what may have been the original image, an album cover for Alpine Spirits by RebelsNoSavage. While I think the stars in the upper sky may have been added to this one, the surrounding mountains and town seem a bit more natural.



Well-Known Member
You can't see the Matterhorn from Lauterbrunnen :D but he was there, they actually did an impressive 200km hike (although they had 2 weeks to do it) and after Lauterbrunnen, the 2 scheidegg passes (where the inspirations for caradhras and celbdhil can be found), the aare-gorge in meiringen (looks pretty anduin-ish) they crossed over the grimsel and walked all the way to zermatt. I did the first part of that hike this autumn and it syncs up pretty well with many sequences in lotr/hobbit :)

I would not depict the lonely mountain matterhornesque in form but in location. The alonestanding mountain by a lake is a bit rarer in Switzerland, but we still have some nice ones. But that was probably the source of inspiration since the form of the mountain doesnt really call back to the matterhorn.