Why Didn’t the Elves and the Dwarves Help Gondor?

siege of minas tirith

The Lord of the Rings movies by Peter Jackson allowed us to see an adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s classic The Lord of the Rings book. Of course, while the movies were never 1:1 reproductions of the book, they still did a great job of adapting the events narrated in Tolkien’s writings. But one of the things that people were wondering about regarding the Siege of Gondor in The Return of the King was the fact that the Elves and the Dwarves were not around to help the Men of the West in their resistance against the armies of Mordor. So, why didn’t the Elves and the Dwarves help Gondor?

The Elves and the Dwarves couldn’t help Gondor during the siege of Sauron’s army because they were fighting their own battles. The Mirkwood Elves and the Lothlórien Elves were also fighting off invasions from Sauron’s forces. Meanwhile, the Dwarves of Erebor and the Men of Dale were fighting off Easterlings.

Even though the movies adapted the book really well, the problem is that there were certain events that weren’t shown or even mentioned by the films. Such events included the battles that the other people of Middle-Earth were facing, as Gondor wasn’t the only battlefield in the War of the Ring. Now, let’s look at where the Elves and the Dwarves were during the Siege of Gondor.

Why Didn’t The Elves And The Dwarves Help Gondor?

One of the greatest trilogies in the history of film is Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings, which was adapted from JRR Tolkien’s classic The Lord of the Rings book. The movies themselves were able to recreate the entire story of the book really well, as we were able to see one of the greatest narratives in history brought to life on screen. Of course, a lot of LOTR fans were never able to read the book but relied more on the movies because they were able to reproduce and adapt the story so well.

Nevertheless, there were some moments in the movies that left fans questioning. One such moment was when the armies of Mordor laid siege on the city of Minas Tirith, as the kingdom of Gondor was left without any allies against a powerful army unleashed by Sauron himself. And the only other kingdom or realm that assisted Gondor was the kingdom of Rohan.

But we all know that there were still Elves and Dwarves all over Middle-Earth during that moment in time. The realms of the Elves and the Dwarves were also quite strong and numerous in terms of their numbers and force. Had they been there to help Gondor, they surely would have pushed back the armies of Mordor without having to rely on the Army of the Dead unleashed by Aragorn. So, why didn’t the Elves and the Dwarves help Gondor?

The reason why neither the Elves nor the Dwarves were able to help Gondor in the siege that Gondor laid on Minas Tirith was the fact that they simply couldn’t do so. Both the Elves and the Dwarves had their own battles to fight during the War of the Ring, as Gondor was not the only battlefield in the Middle-Earth.


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Sauron was smart enough to deploy different forces in Middle-Earth to weaken not only the kingdoms of Men but the realms of the Elves and the Dwarves as well. This is why Sauron employed the aid of Saruman, who he ordered to lay siege on Rohan while the armies of Mordor fought Gondor.

In the same way, Sauron also sent armies to the realms of Elves and Dwarves during the time he was attacking the kingdoms of Men. It is only the fact that these events were never shown on screen that made movie-only fans wonder where the Elves and the Dwarves were during the War of the Ring, as Men were the ones that were seemingly on the frontlines in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies.

Where Were The Elves During The Siege Of Gondor?

Arguably the strongest armies in Middle-Earth, aside from the Orcs, belonged to the Elves, as the Elves were well-trained and quite disciplined. But the fact is the Elves were also busy fighting their own battles. These accounts from the book show that even the Elves were fending off Sauron’s forces during the time when Gondor needed aid.

“The realm of Thranduil was invaded, and there was long battle under the trees and great ruin of fire; but in the end Thranduil had the victory. And on the day of the New Year of the Elves, Celeborn and Thranduil met in the midst of the forest; and they renamed Mirkwood Eryn Lasgalen, The Wood of Greenleaves.”


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“Three times Lórien had been assailed from Dol Guldur, but besides the valour of the elven people of that land, the power that dwelt there was too great for any to overcome, unless Sauron had come there himself. Though grievous harm was done to the fair woods on the borders, the assaults were driven back; and when the Shadow passed, Celeborn came forth and led the host of Lórien over Anduin in many boats. They took Dol Guldur, and Galadriel threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed.”

As clearly told in those excerpts from the book, both the Mirkwood Elves led by King Thranduil and the Lothlórien Elves led by Galadriel and Celeborn were busy fighting off the sieges that Mordor sent to those realms. That is why the Elves weren’t able to spare any men to fight for Gondor, as they needed every soldier to try to fend off the forces of Mordor that Sauron sent their way.

Where Were The Dwarves During The Siege Of Gondor?

Battle of dale

While we didn’t see much of the Dwarves during The Lord of the Rings trilogy, there were still quite a lot of them, especially after the Lonely Mountain had been taken back from Smaug during the events of The Hobbit. The Dwarves started to repopulate Erebor once more with the help of King Dáin. Meanwhile, Men also started to live in Dale once more. However, like the Elves, the Dwarves of Erebor and the Men of Dale also faced their own battles in the form of the Easterlings, as the excerpt says:

“At the same time as the great armies besieged Minas Tirith a host of the allies of Sauron that had long threatened the borders of King Brand crossed the River Carnen, and Brand was driven back to Dale. There he had the aid of the Dwarves of Erebor; and there was a great battle at the Mountain’s feet. It lasted three days, but in the end both King Brand and King Dáin Ironfoot were slain, and the Easterlings had the victory. But they could not take the Gate, and many, both Dwarves and Men, took refuge in Erebor, and there withstood a siege. When news came of the great victories in the South, then Sauron’s northern army was filled with dismay; and the besieged came forth and routed them, and the remnant fled into the East and troubled Dale no more.”

The deaths of King Dáin and King Brand during the Battle of Dale actually led to the defeat of the armies of Erebor and Dale. However, the remaining forces were able to hold the gate of Erebor long enough for the other forces of good in Middle-Earth to win their own battles. The fact that both Erebor and Dale were defeated meant that they didn’t even have the force to repel the Easterlings that attacked them.

Sauron’s defeat upon the destruction of the One Ring caused the Easterlings to lose any hope in their efforts to take Erebor from the remaining Dwarves and Men of Dale. As such, they ended up leaving Erebor alone despite the fact that they were winning.

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