Helm’s Deep

Helm's Deep was a valley in the north-western White Mountains of Middle-earth, and the location of the battle where Saruman's forces were destroyed.

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“Men of that land called it Helm’s Deep, after a hero of old wars who had made his refuge there. Ever steeper and narrower it wound inward from the north under the shadow of the Thrihyrne, till the crowhaunted cliffs rose like mighty towers on either side, shutting out the light.” ~ The Two Towers

Helm's Deep - Greg And Tim Hildebrandt

Helm's Deep - Greg and Tim Hildebrandt

Helm’s Deep, nestled within the north-western reaches of the White Mountains, lay on the distant fringe of the Westfold Vale, beneath the Thrihyrne. The fortress encompassed an intricate defense apparatus that comprised the Deeping Wall and a stronghold called the Hornburg.


Helm’s Dike–a large trench and wall–protected the whole valley, Behind it was the Hornburg. The valley was also blocked by a sturdy stone wall–the Deeping Wall–with a wide opening at the bottom for the Deeping-stream to flow through. The Glittering Caves were found behind Helm’s Deep, beneath the Thrihyrne.

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In the Second Age, Númenóreans ventured into the Glittering Caves behind Helm’s Deep, but the details of their exploration remain unclear.

Initially constructed during the zenith of Gondor’s Kings, the fortress was first erected by Gondorians. However, as Gondorian territories like Calenardhon saw a decline in population, the area, once known as Aglarond, was ceded to the Éothéod. Transforming into a Westfold encampment for the Rohirrim, it later served as a guardian post for the Gap of Rohan.

In the conflict with the Dunlendings and Wulf’s takeover of Rohan, Helm Hammerhand sought refuge in the keep. Enduring a siege during the Long Winter of T.A. 2758–2759, Helm’s Deep earned its name after Helm’s passing.

During the War of the Ring, Helm’s Deep became a haven for some Rohirrim under King Théoden. The keep faced a siege and was breached by Saruman’s Uruk-hai, leading to the Battle of the Hornburg. Post-battle, Huorns created a mound known as the Death Down for the slain Uruk-hai, while Dunlendings allied with Saruman received a more honorable burial below the Dike.