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Fords of Isen

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Ethraid Engrin by Matěj Čadil

The Fords of Isen were fords in the river Isen, guarded by the Rohirrim.


The river Isen (Sindarin Angren) was not crossable anywhere south of its origin in Isengard, except at the Fords of Isen which were just above the point where the Isen bent west towards Belegaer. As it was the only way into Gondor and later Rohan, it was closely guarded from the fortresses of Isengard and the Hornburg at Helm's Deep.


In the early years of the Third Age, the northwest of Middle-earth was dominated by two mighty Númenórean Kingdoms, Arnor in the north and Gondor in the south. Between them lay a narrow land that properly belonged to neither kingdom, known as Enedwaith. Through this land ran a road built by the Númenórean Exiles to connect their realms. A traveller journeying southward through Enedwaith along the North-South Road would eventually come to the point where it crossed the River Isen (then known by its Elvish name of 'Angren'). The crossing of the Fords of Isen—the Ethraid Engrin (or Athrad Angren) as they were known in those times—marked the point of entry into the southern land of Gondor.

During the War of the Ring the fords were attacked from both shores by Orcs of Saruman who had passed south from Isengard in secret, and King Théoden of Rohan's son Théodred was killed when Gríma Wormtongue refused to send reinforcements. Despite Théodred's death a company of the Rohirrim under Grimbold attempted to hold the fords, but they had to give them up against a force which outnumbered them more than five times.

The surviving Rohirrim fled south to the Hornburg, just barely outrunning Saruman's forces, and almost doubled the number of defenders during the Battle of the Hornburg.

War of the Ring
Osgiliath (1) · Fords of Isen · Isengard · Hornburg · Osgiliath (2) · Dale · Siege of Gondor · Pelennor Fields · Black Gate · Dol Guldur · Bywater