Tolkien Gateway

Enchanted River

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The Enchanted River rose in the Mountains of Mirkwood, and flowed northwards in a great loop to meet the Forest River under the canopy of the trees of Mirkwood.[1] Its water was black, and carried a curse that gave the river its name - any person coming into contact with its enchanted water immediately fell into a long, deep sleep.[2]

About halfway along its length, the Enchanted River flowed across the Elf-path that led west to east through Mirkwood to Thranduil's halls, and it seems that a ferry was maintained there, presumably for the use of the Wood-elves. At least, Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarves found a boat kept on the eastern bank of the River, which they used to cross it on their journey to Erebor. However, Bombur who fell in the river and lost consciousness, and his companions had to pull him out and carry him for several days with ropes.[3]

Portrayal in adaptations

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

The Enchanted River, said to be called Gûlduin or Gûlhir in Sindarin, is 100 miles long.[4][5]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Map of Wilderland"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
  4. John David Ruemmler, Susan Tyler Hitchcock, Peter C. Fenlon (1995), Mirkwood (2nd edition) (#2019)
  5. Mark Rabuck (1992), Northwestern Middle-earth Gazetteer (#4002)