Tolkien Gateway

Misty Mountains

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The Misty Mountains looking West from the Eyrie towards Goblin Gate by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Misty Mountains (Hithaeglir in Sindarin1) are a great mountain range, running 795 miles (1,280 kilometers) from north to south, between Eriador in the west and the Great River Anduin in the east, and from Mount Gundabad in the far north to Methedras in the south. They are also called the Mountains of Mist.

Contents

Geographic Features

Their most important peaks are Redhorn, Silvertine, Cloudyhead, Mount Gundabad, and Methedras.

Important Peaks

The northernmost peak of the Misty Mountains was Mount Gundabad, where according to legend Durin, eldest of the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves awoke. Later it became a haven for Orcs.

The greatest Dwarven realm in Middle-Earth, Khazad-dûm, was located at the midpoint of the Misty Mountains. The city was built under three peaks, Redhorn (Caradhras in Sindarin), Silvertine (Celebdil), and Cloudyhead (Fanuidhol). Inside Silvertine the Dwarves built the Endless Stair, a stairway from the foundations of the mountain to its peak. The southernmost mountain was Methedras (Sindarin for "Last Peak").

Routes through the Misty Mountains

The most important passes were the High Pass and the Redhorn Pass. There was also a pass at the source of the Gladden River.

Routes around the Misty Mountains

The Gap of Rohan was a passable valley between the southernmost peak of the Misty Mountains and the northernmost of the White Mountains. In the far north the Misty Mountains formed a T with the Grey Mountains, preventing a northern route around them.

History

Origins

The Misty Mountains were created by Vala Melkor during the Years of the Trees as a hindrance for Oromë, who would hunt the fell creatures of Melkor.

Inhabitants

Under the Misty Mountains are the former Dwarf realm of Khazad-dûm and the Orc mines in which Bilbo Baggins stumbles across the One Ring. Rivendell was hidden in the foothills of the Misty Mountains at the western end of the High Pass. Carn Dûm, where the Witch-king of Angmar resided for several centuries in the Third Age, lay between a western spur of the northern extreme of the mountains, known as the Mountains of Angmar. Isengard lay centred around the tower of Orthanc in Nan Cúrunir between the arms of Methedras.

In the Third Age

The thirteen Dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins used the High Pass to cross the Misty Mountains, and were captured by Orcs whilst crossing (see The Hobbit).

The Fellowship of the Ring tried to cross the Redhorn Pass (after rejecting the High Pass leading to Rhovanion as being watched by the Enemy, and the Gap of Rohan as taking the Fellowship too close to Isengard), but a blizzard forced it to go under the mountain instead of over it. The Nine Walkers faced a Balrog, that dwelt in the deserted realm of Khazad-dûm. Gandalf slew the Balrog by throwing it from the Celebdil, but sacrificied his own life by doing this.

"Misty Mountains" Outside of Tolkien

  • Led Zeppelin recorded a song, "Misty Mountain Hop", which seems to have borrowed the name but little else from Tolkien. Several other Led Zeppelin songs contain Tolkien references.
  • Robert Jordan's fantasy series The Wheel of Time also features a mountain range called the Mountains of Mist.

Notes

1. The Hithaeglir were mispelled as "Hithaiglin" on the original Lord of the Rings map)