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Fords of Isen

Matěj Čadil - Ethraid Engrin.jpg
Fords of Isen
Physical Description
TypeFord
LocationIn the Gap of Rohan where the North-South Road crossed the River Isen
RealmsRohan
InhabitantsRohirrim
DescriptionA double ford – two shallow arms of the river surrounding a large eyot
General Information
Other namesAthrad Angren, Ethraid Engrin
EventsFirst Battle of the Fords of Isen
Second Battle of the Fords of Isen

The Fords of Isen were the crossing point of the North-South Road on the river Isen in the Gap of Rohan. At the western border of the realm of Rohan and at a strategic position between the Misty Mountains and the White Mountains,[1] the Ford was constantly guarded by the Rohirrim.

[edit] Geography

The River Isen (Sindarin Sîr Angren) could not be crossed anywhere south of Isengard, except at the Fords of Isen,[2] which were just above the point where the river bent west towards Belegaer.[1] In this area the river became broad and shallow, flowing across a stony shelf and branching into two arms about a large eyot. Only here could large forces effectively cross the river.[2] During much of the time the Fords were closely guarded from the fortresses of Isengard and the Hornburg at Helm's Deep.

[edit] History

In S.A. 3320, two Númenórean Kingdoms were established - Arnor in the north and Gondor in the south.[3] Between them ran a road built by the Númenórean Exiles to connect their realms. A traveler journeying southward through Enedwaith along the North-South Road would 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.

After the fall of Sauron in S.A. 3441[3] but before Isildur departed from Gondor in T.A. 2,[4] the army of Arnor marched home to Eriador via the Fords of Isen.[5]

In T.A. 2510 the Steward Cirion granted the land of Calenardhon to Eorl the Young.[4] The River Isen then became the western boundary of the new realm of Rohan and responsibility for the great road and the Fords fell upon the Rohirrim, although it was agreed that free passageway would be maintained for all travelers of either people.[6]

On 18 September, T.A. 3018, the Black Riders crossed the Fords of Isen on their way to the Shire.[7]

In the First Battle of the Fords of Isen (on 25 February, 3019[7]) the Orcs of Saruman, reinforced by Dunlendings and wolfriders, plus two battalions of Uruk-hai, rushed down upon Théodred, King Théoden's son, and killed the Prince. This blow against the leadership of Rohan was Saruman's main objective in this battle and his forces then withdrew.

Erkenbrand of Westfold maintained a defense at the Fords after the First Battle, under the immediate command of Grimbold, strengthened by Elfhelm and his riders. However, on 2 March, 3019[7] the host of Saruman overwhelmed the defenders and swept across the Fords in the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen.

In August of 3019[8] Aragorn took leave of the reduced company that had formed King Théoden's funeral escort near the Fords of Isen.[9]

[edit] References

  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan", (iii) Cirion and Eorl
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Chief Days from the Fall of Barad-dûr to the End of the Third Age"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Many Partings"
War of the Ring
Osgiliath (1) · Fords of Isen · Isengard · Hornburg · Osgiliath (2) · Dale · Siege of Gondor · Pelennor Fields · Black Gate · Dol Guldur · Bywater