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"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
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First Sight of Ithilien by Ted Nasmith.

Ithilien (S, pron. [iˈθiljen]) was a region and fiefdom of Gondor. Ithilien was the only part of Gondor on the eastern side of the Anduin, wedged in between the river and the Ephel Dúath. The region was further divided into North and South Ithilien.



Ithilien was a fair and prosperous land during the Second Age and the first part of the Third Age, when Gondor was strong and Mordor deserted. Of old its chief city was Minas Ithil, the Tower of the Moon.

Amon Dîn was used as a fortified outpost of Minas Tirith. It kept watch over the passage into North Ithilien from Dagorlad and any attempt by enemies to cross the Anduin near Cair Andros.[1][2]

After the Battle of the Plains in T.A. 1856, the lands east of the river Anduin were abandoned, save Ithilien.

In T.A. 1944, Wainriders from Rhûn made an alliance with the Haradrim, and a dual attack on Ithilien was launched. While the Wainriders assaulted Ithilien from the north, the armies of the Haradrim crossed the Poros and invaded South Ithilien. The Gondorian Captain Eärnil leading Gondor's inferior Southern Army, defeated the Haradrim, and then turned north, took the Wainriders into surprise and pushed many of them into the swamplands of the Dead Marshes.

When this was captured by Mordor in T.A. 2002 it was renamed Minas Morgul, the Tower of Black Sorcery. After this event, the majority of the people of Ithilien fled across the Anduin to escape war (T.A. 2901, but the Stewards of Gondor still kept scouts there, operating out of secret locations such as Henneth Annûn. Those who stayed fled in T.A. 2954 when Mount Doom erupted.

The descendants of the people who had dwelt in Ithilien, formed the corps of the Rangers of Ithilien.

During the War of the Ring, in early May T.A. 3019, Faramir the son of the Steward Denethor, was leading the Rangers of Ithilien to ambush Haradrim who would pass through Ithilien. That same time, Gollum led Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee through Ithilien on their way to Cirith Ungol and into Mordor, and Faramir allowed to continue when he is satisfied they are not agents of Sauron.

During the Fourth Age, Ithilien was ruled by the Princes of Ithilien, a line that started with Faramir and Éowyn, who became known as the White Lady of Ithilien. Minas Morgul was not repopulated, and Faramir had his throne in Emyn Arnen. After the fall of Sauron, Legolas brought elves from Greenwood, and they dwelt in Ithilien, and once again it became the fairest country in all the westlands.


Anemones and Asphodel grew in Ithilien[3]


Ithilien is a Sindarin name meaning "land of the moon".[4] It has been suggested that the name consists of the elements Ithil ("moon") + the affix end.[5]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan"
  2. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 510
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Unfinished index for The Lord of the Rings", in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 233
  5. Compound Sindarin Names in Middle-earth at (accessed 20 July 2011)