Tolkien Gateway

Mirkwood

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:''This article is about the forest in [[Rhovanion (region)|Rhovanion]]. For the northern parts of [[Dorthonion]] see [[Taur-nu-Fuin (Dorthonion)]].
 
{{location
 
{{location
 
| image=[[Image:Alan_Lee_-_%27%27Well%2C_here_is_Mirkwood%21%27%27_said_Gandalf.jpg|300px]]
 
| image=[[Image:Alan_Lee_-_%27%27Well%2C_here_is_Mirkwood%21%27%27_said_Gandalf.jpg|300px]]
 
| name=Mirkwood
 
| name=Mirkwood
| othernames=[[Greenwood the Great]], [[Taur-nu-Fuin (Mirkwood)|Taur-nu-Fuin]], [[Eryn Lasgalen]]
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| othernames=[[Taur-nu-Fuin (Mirkwood)|Taur-nu-Fuin]], Forest of Great Fear, [[Taur-e-Ndaedelos]], [[Greenwood the Great]], [[Eryn Galen]], Wood of Greenleaves, [[Eryn Lasgalen]].
 
| etymology=Anglicized [[Westron]] ''mirk'' + ''wood''
 
| etymology=Anglicized [[Westron]] ''mirk'' + ''wood''
 
| type=Forest
 
| type=Forest
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| references='''References Needed'''
 
| references='''References Needed'''
 
|}}
 
|}}
'''Mirkwood''' was the name of a great wood east of the [[Misty Mountains]] in [[Rhovanion]]. The name originally came from Germanic legends.
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{{quote|‘Well, here is Mirkwood!’ said Gandalf. ‘Greatest of the forests of the Northern world. I hope you like the look of it.’|''[[The Hobbit]]'', [[Queer Lodgings]].}}
  
 +
'''Mirkwood''' ([[Sindarin|S]]: ''[[Taur-nu-Fuin (Mirkwood)|Taur-nu-Fuin]]'') or the '''Forest of Great Fear''' ([[Sindarin|S]]: ''[[Taur-e-Ndaedelos]]'') was a great forest in [[Rhovanion]]. It was only known by these names in the latter part of the [[Third Age]], having previously been called [[Greenwood the Great]] ([[Sindarin|S]]: ''[[Eryn Galen]]'') and later became the [[Wood of Greenleaves]] ([[Sindarin|S]]: [[Eryn Lasgalen]]).
  
Projected into Old English, the term appears as ''Myrcwudu'' in Tolkien's ''[[The Lost Road and Other Writings|The Lost Road]]'', as a poem sung by [[Aelfwine]] (''[[King Sheave]]'', [[The Lost Road and Other Writings]]):
+
== Geography ==
<poem>
+
Sea-danes and Goths, Swedes and Northmen,
+
Franks and Frisians, folk of the islands,
+
Swordmen and Saxons, Swabes and English,
+
and the Langobards who long ago
+
beyond Myrcwudu a mighty realm
+
and wealth won them in the Welsh countries
+
where Ælfwine Eadwine's heir
+
in Italy was king. All that has passed.
+
</poem>
+
  
 +
Mirkwood seems to have had much the same boundaries as it did at the end of the Third Age for most of its history. It was roughly rectangular in shape: stretching from the foothills of the [[Grey Mountains]] in the north to the [[North Undeep]] in the south, and from the east edge of the vale of [[Anduin]] to [[Erebor]].
  
Mirkwood also appears in the [[Middle-earth]] fiction, as the names of two distinct forests.
+
It was bisected by the ancient [[Old Forest Road]]. Later, when this road became unusable, a second path through the forest was made to the north. Between the two paths lay the [[Mountains of Mirkwood]]. The [[Forest River]] cut through the forest's northern end from its source in the western Grey Mountains, joined in the centre by the [[Enchanted River]] which flowed north from the Mountains of Mirkwood.
  
In [[the Lord of the Rings]] and associated writings, Mirkwood is used as a translation of the unknown [[Westron]] name for the great forest in [[Rhovanion]]. The forest held the dwelling of a [[Silvan Elves|Silvan]] [[Elves|Elven]] kingdom, ruled by King [[Thranduil]]. It had been called ''Greenwood the Great'' until around the year 1050 in the [[Third Age]] of the [[Years of the Sun]], when a shadow of the dark lord [[Sauron]] fell upon it, and men began to call it ''Taur-nu-Fuin'' and ''Taur-e-Ndaedelos'' in the [[Sindarin]] tongue. Sauron established himself at the hill-fortress of [[Dol Guldur]] on ''Amon Lanc'', and drove Thranduil and his people ever northward, so that by the end of the [[Third Age]] they were a diminished and wary people, who had entrenched themselves beyond the ''Mountains of Mirkwood'' (''Emyn Fuin'', formerly the ''Emyn Duir'' or "Dark Mountains").  The ''Old Forest Road'' or ''Old Dwarf Road'' crossed the forest east to west, but due to its relative proximity to Dol Guldur, the road was mostly unusable.  The [[Elves]] made a path farther to the north, which ended somewhere in the marshes south of the Long Lake of [[Esgaroth]].
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South of the Old Forest road the [[East Bight]] created the ''Narrows of the Forest'', only one hundred miles across. South and west of the narrows was the a hill called [[Amon Lanc]].
  
== Mirkwood in ''The Silmarillion'' ==
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== History ==
  
In [[The Silmarillion]], the highlands of [[Dorthonion]] eventually fell under [[Morgoth]]'s spell, and was renamed to [[Taur-nu-Fuin]] ("Forest under Deadly Nightshade") in [[Sindarin]], a name which Tolkien translated as ''Mirkwood'' in English. Along with the rest of [[Beleriand]] this forest disappeared after the cataclysm of the [[War of Wrath]], although part of its peaks may have survived as an island far of the coast of [[Lindon]].
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Originally called Greenwood the Great, the forest presumably once formed part of the vast primeval woodland which covered most of [[Middle-earth]] during the [[Years of the Trees]]. The [[Eldar]] passed through the area on their [[Great Journey|journey]] to [[Valinor]] and it was first populated at this time by the [[Nandor]], unwilling to cross the [[Misty Mountains]] settled in the wooded valleys of the river Anduin. They multiplied and were joined by wandering [[Avari]], becoming known as Silvan or Wood-elves.
  
== Mirkwood in ''The Hobbit'' ==
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The Old Forest Road was constructed very early in Greenwood's history, probably by [[Dwarves]] to carry traffic between their eastern and western clans, including the Dwarven colony in Erebor very close to the north-eastern edge of the forest.
  
In ''[[The Hobbit]]'', [[Bilbo Baggins]], along with [[Thorin Oakenshield]] and his band of [[Dwarves]], ventured into Mirkwood during their quest to regain [[Erebor]] from the [[Dragons|Dragon]] [[Smaug]]. There, they came across many great spiders, the breed of [[Shelob]]. Shortly after the Dwarves' escape, they were captured by the Elves. After or during these events the [[White Council]] attacked Dol Guldur, and Sauron fled to [[Mordor]], and his influence in Mirkwood diminished for a while.
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=== Second Age ===
  
== Mirkwood in the ''The Lord of the Rings'' ==
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Greenwood first appeared to history in recognisable form on the arrival of the [[Sindar]] [[Oropher]] and his hold at the beginning of the Second Age. Oropher built his halls at Amon Lanc and was accepted as the leader of the Wood-elves of Greenwood, forming the [[Woodland Realm]].
  
Sometime after losing the [[One Ring]] in [[The Hobbit]], [[Gollum]] left the [[Misty Mountains]] to try to find it.  He was captured by servants of Sauron and interrogated, then released.  After his release from Mordor, he was captured by [[Aragorn II|Aragorn]] and brought as a prisoner to Thranduil's halls. He escaped during an [[Orcs|Orc]] raid, and fled south to [[Moria]].
+
Presumably by this time [[Men]] had also settled in and around the forest in small numbers.
  
During the [[War of the Ring]], [[Dol Guldur]] sent troops to attack [[Lorien]] to the West, and [[Thranduil's halls]] to the far North.  Lorien was assaulted three times by Dol Guldur with failure and [[Thranduil]] lead a great battle under the trees and was victorious.  [[Celeborn]] lead his forces across the [[Anduin]] from Lorien, while Thranduil lead his from the North to attack Dol Guldur for the last time.  [[Galadriel]] threw down the gates of the stronghold and  the darkness was lifted from Mirkwood, and it became known again by its old name of '''Eryn Lasgalen''', Sindarin for the '''Wood of Greenleaves'''.
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=== Third Age ===
  
== Mirkwood After the War of the Ring ==
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The first millennium of the Third Age probably saw the creation of the East Bight by men living in the eastern eaves of the forest. These men may have formed part of the [[Kingdom of Rhovanion]] led by [[Vidugavia]]. Men, such as the [[Éothéod]], and [[Hobbits]] also lived in the vale of Anduin and were likely responsible for the retreat of the forest's western border.
  
Celeborn expanded Lorien with the addition of Southern Mirkwood which became known as East Lorien, and Thranduil's realm went as far south as the Mountains of Mirkwood. The land in between was given to the [[Beornings]] and [[Woodmen]].
+
At the beginning of the Third Age [[Thranduil]] replaced [[Oropher]] as king of the Woodland Realm. Probably as a result of massive losses at the [[Battle of Dagorlad]] the Silvan population of Greenwood was diminished and became mainly concentrated in the hills then known as [[Emyn Duir]]. This included the abandonment of Amon Lanc, and around the turn of the first millennium [[Sauron]], under the guise of the '[[Necromancer]]', returned to Middle-earth and built a fortress there. The hill and the fortress together become known as [[Dol Guldur]], the "Hill of Sorcery".
 +
 
 +
Sauron's arrival caused a darkening of Greenwood, and it is at this point it became known as Mirkwood. The children of [[Shelob]], giant [[spiders]], as well as bats and orcs in Dol Guldur's service occupied the forest and it became thicker, darker and covered in cobwebs<ref>[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], ''[[The Hobbit]]'', [[Flies and Spiders]]</ref>.
 +
 
 +
This caused the Silvan population of Mirkwood to retreat even further, residing apparently exclusively in [[Thranduil's halls]] at the eastern end of the Forest River. The ancient Old Forest Road was abandoned by men and Dwarves alike, with a new but seldom used path being made further from Dol Guldur and the Hobbits near the forest's eastern border migrated away.
 +
 
 +
Mirkwood remained a place of fear throughout the Third Age, though the kingdoms of [[Erebor]] and [[Dale]] flourished briefly in the time of the [[Kings under the Mountain]]. This prosperity was ended by the arrival of the [[Dragon]] [[Smaug]] who brought yet further desolation to the area north-eastern Mirkwood. Small homesteads of 'Woodmen' are also recorded as living in the western edge of the forest south of the old road in [[Third Age 2941|T.A. 2941]]<ref>[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], ''[[The Hobbit]]'', Map of Wilderland</ref>.
 +
 
 +
The shadow over Mirkwood was lifted, albeit temporarily, in [[Third Age 2941|T.A. 2941]] when the [[White Council]], prompted by the [[wizard]] [[Gandalf|Gandalf's]] discovery of his true identity, drove Sauron from Dol Guldur. Gandalf also instigated [[The Hobbit#Synopsis|the Quest for Erebor]] which resulted in the slaying of Smaug in the same year. The combination of these two events allowed the re-established kingdoms of Erebor and Dale, as well as the Woodland Realm and a confederacy of Woodmen led by the [[Beornings]] to flourish for a brief period.
 +
 
 +
However, only ten years after these events Sauron, now based in [[Mordor]], sent the [[Witch-king of Angmar]] and the other [[Nazgûl]] to secretly reoccupy Dol Guldur and begin amassing an army of Orcs and [[Easterlings]] there. In  [[Third Age 3018|3018]] these attacked the Woodland Realm, as well as Dale, Erebor and [[Lórien]], in the opening moves of the [[War of the Ring]].
 +
 
 +
On [[Third Age 3019#March|March 19 3019]] Thranduil repulsed Sauron's forces in the bloody [[Battle Under Trees]] and mounted a campaign to clear northern Mirkwood of Sauron's servants. At the same time the elves of Lórien led by [[Celeborn]] and [[Galadriel]] assaulted and destroyed Dol Guldur, and began to cleanse the southern part of the forest. Celeborn and Thranduil met in the midst of the forest on [[Elven New Year]] and formally renamed the forest Eryn Lasgalen. They then agreed to divide it between the Woodland Realm from the northern edge of the forest to the mountains, the Beornings from the mountains to the Narrows and [[East Lórien]] from the Narrows south.
 +
 
 +
=== Fourth Age ===
 +
 
 +
Though initially the prospered as the darkness was lifted the elves of the Wood of Greenleaves were destined either to depart for Valinor or fade into rustic forest spirits. The forest probably then ultimately fell under the dominion of men, the descendent of the Beornings and the men of Dale.
 +
 
 +
== Etymology ==
 +
 
 +
The name ''Mirkwood'' originally came from Germanic legends.
 +
 
 +
Projected into Old English, the term appears as ''Myrcwudu'' in Tolkien's ''[[The Lost Road and Other Writings|The Lost Road]]'', as a poem sung by [[Aelfwine]] (''[[King Sheave]]'', [[The Lost Road and Other Writings]]):
 +
<poem>
 +
Sea-danes and Goths, Swedes and Northmen,
 +
Franks and Frisians, folk of the islands,
 +
Swordmen and Saxons, Swabes and English,
 +
and the Langobards who long ago
 +
beyond Myrcwudu a mighty realm
 +
and wealth won them in the Welsh countries
 +
where Ælfwine Eadwine's heir
 +
in Italy was king. All that has passed.
 +
</poem>
  
 
== See also ==
 
== See also ==
 
* [[:Category:Images of Mirkwood|Images of Mirkwood]]
 
* [[:Category:Images of Mirkwood|Images of Mirkwood]]
 +
 +
== References ==
 +
<references />
  
 
[[Category:Regions]]
 
[[Category:Regions]]

Revision as of 13:58, 4 October 2008

This article is about the forest in Rhovanion. For the northern parts of Dorthonion see Taur-nu-Fuin (Dorthonion).
Alan Lee - ''Well, here is Mirkwood!'' said Gandalf.jpg
Mirkwood
Physical Description
TypeForest
LocationEast of the Misty Mountains, south of Ered Mithrin
RealmsWoodland Realm, Dol Guldur
InhabitantsSpiders, Wood-elves, Orcs, Nazgûl
DescriptionDeep, thick, dark forest
General Information
Other namesTaur-nu-Fuin, Forest of Great Fear, Taur-e-Ndaedelos, Greenwood the Great, Eryn Galen, Wood of Greenleaves, Eryn Lasgalen.
EtymologyAnglicized Westron mirk + wood
EventsFall of Dol Guldur
ReferencesReferences Needed
"‘Well, here is Mirkwood!’ said Gandalf. ‘Greatest of the forests of the Northern world. I hope you like the look of it.’"
The Hobbit, Queer Lodgings.

Mirkwood (S: Taur-nu-Fuin) or the Forest of Great Fear (S: Taur-e-Ndaedelos) was a great forest in Rhovanion. It was only known by these names in the latter part of the Third Age, having previously been called Greenwood the Great (S: Eryn Galen) and later became the Wood of Greenleaves (S: Eryn Lasgalen).

Contents

Geography

Mirkwood seems to have had much the same boundaries as it did at the end of the Third Age for most of its history. It was roughly rectangular in shape: stretching from the foothills of the Grey Mountains in the north to the North Undeep in the south, and from the east edge of the vale of Anduin to Erebor.

It was bisected by the ancient Old Forest Road. Later, when this road became unusable, a second path through the forest was made to the north. Between the two paths lay the Mountains of Mirkwood. The Forest River cut through the forest's northern end from its source in the western Grey Mountains, joined in the centre by the Enchanted River which flowed north from the Mountains of Mirkwood.

South of the Old Forest road the East Bight created the Narrows of the Forest, only one hundred miles across. South and west of the narrows was the a hill called Amon Lanc.

History

Originally called Greenwood the Great, the forest presumably once formed part of the vast primeval woodland which covered most of Middle-earth during the Years of the Trees. The Eldar passed through the area on their journey to Valinor and it was first populated at this time by the Nandor, unwilling to cross the Misty Mountains settled in the wooded valleys of the river Anduin. They multiplied and were joined by wandering Avari, becoming known as Silvan or Wood-elves.

The Old Forest Road was constructed very early in Greenwood's history, probably by Dwarves to carry traffic between their eastern and western clans, including the Dwarven colony in Erebor very close to the north-eastern edge of the forest.

Second Age

Greenwood first appeared to history in recognisable form on the arrival of the Sindar Oropher and his hold at the beginning of the Second Age. Oropher built his halls at Amon Lanc and was accepted as the leader of the Wood-elves of Greenwood, forming the Woodland Realm.

Presumably by this time Men had also settled in and around the forest in small numbers.

Third Age

The first millennium of the Third Age probably saw the creation of the East Bight by men living in the eastern eaves of the forest. These men may have formed part of the Kingdom of Rhovanion led by Vidugavia. Men, such as the Éothéod, and Hobbits also lived in the vale of Anduin and were likely responsible for the retreat of the forest's western border.

At the beginning of the Third Age Thranduil replaced Oropher as king of the Woodland Realm. Probably as a result of massive losses at the Battle of Dagorlad the Silvan population of Greenwood was diminished and became mainly concentrated in the hills then known as Emyn Duir. This included the abandonment of Amon Lanc, and around the turn of the first millennium Sauron, under the guise of the 'Necromancer', returned to Middle-earth and built a fortress there. The hill and the fortress together become known as Dol Guldur, the "Hill of Sorcery".

Sauron's arrival caused a darkening of Greenwood, and it is at this point it became known as Mirkwood. The children of Shelob, giant spiders, as well as bats and orcs in Dol Guldur's service occupied the forest and it became thicker, darker and covered in cobwebs[1].

This caused the Silvan population of Mirkwood to retreat even further, residing apparently exclusively in Thranduil's halls at the eastern end of the Forest River. The ancient Old Forest Road was abandoned by men and Dwarves alike, with a new but seldom used path being made further from Dol Guldur and the Hobbits near the forest's eastern border migrated away.

Mirkwood remained a place of fear throughout the Third Age, though the kingdoms of Erebor and Dale flourished briefly in the time of the Kings under the Mountain. This prosperity was ended by the arrival of the Dragon Smaug who brought yet further desolation to the area north-eastern Mirkwood. Small homesteads of 'Woodmen' are also recorded as living in the western edge of the forest south of the old road in T.A. 2941[2].

The shadow over Mirkwood was lifted, albeit temporarily, in T.A. 2941 when the White Council, prompted by the wizard Gandalf's discovery of his true identity, drove Sauron from Dol Guldur. Gandalf also instigated the Quest for Erebor which resulted in the slaying of Smaug in the same year. The combination of these two events allowed the re-established kingdoms of Erebor and Dale, as well as the Woodland Realm and a confederacy of Woodmen led by the Beornings to flourish for a brief period.

However, only ten years after these events Sauron, now based in Mordor, sent the Witch-king of Angmar and the other Nazgûl to secretly reoccupy Dol Guldur and begin amassing an army of Orcs and Easterlings there. In 3018 these attacked the Woodland Realm, as well as Dale, Erebor and Lórien, in the opening moves of the War of the Ring.

On March 19 3019 Thranduil repulsed Sauron's forces in the bloody Battle Under Trees and mounted a campaign to clear northern Mirkwood of Sauron's servants. At the same time the elves of Lórien led by Celeborn and Galadriel assaulted and destroyed Dol Guldur, and began to cleanse the southern part of the forest. Celeborn and Thranduil met in the midst of the forest on Elven New Year and formally renamed the forest Eryn Lasgalen. They then agreed to divide it between the Woodland Realm from the northern edge of the forest to the mountains, the Beornings from the mountains to the Narrows and East Lórien from the Narrows south.

Fourth Age

Though initially the prospered as the darkness was lifted the elves of the Wood of Greenleaves were destined either to depart for Valinor or fade into rustic forest spirits. The forest probably then ultimately fell under the dominion of men, the descendent of the Beornings and the men of Dale.

Etymology

The name Mirkwood originally came from Germanic legends.

Projected into Old English, the term appears as Myrcwudu in Tolkien's The Lost Road, as a poem sung by Aelfwine (King Sheave, The Lost Road and Other Writings):

Sea-danes and Goths, Swedes and Northmen,
Franks and Frisians, folk of the islands,
Swordmen and Saxons, Swabes and English,
and the Langobards who long ago
beyond Myrcwudu a mighty realm
and wealth won them in the Welsh countries
where Ælfwine Eadwine's heir
in Italy was king. All that has passed.

See also

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Flies and Spiders
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Map of Wilderland