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Paths of the Dead

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Darrell Sweet - The Paths of the Dead.jpg
Paths of the Dead
Physical Description
TypePass
LocationWhite Mountains, Dwimorberg
InhabitantsDead Men
DescriptionHaunted road
General Information
Other namesDwimorberg Pass
EventsPassing of the Grey Company
ReferencesThe Passing of the Grey Company, The Last Debate

The Paths of the Dead was a haunted pass through the White Mountains.

Description

The Paths of the Dead started at the Dark Door at the end of the long valley of Harrowdale, beyond the Firienfield and the forest of Dimholt, wedged in between the mountains Irensaga (Iron Saw), Starkhorn, and the Dwimorberg.

After the Dark Door, the Paths went under the Dwimorberg, past another door where Aragorn and company found the remains of Baldor, son of the second King of Rohan. The Paths then continued past forgotten cities, emerging at the southern end of the White Mountains in Morthond vale, near the Stone of Erech.

History

In the Second Age, a people related to the Dunlendings had lived in the White Mountains, and they had for a time served the Dark Lord Sauron. They later swore allegiance to Isildur of Gondor and Arnor, but betrayed him during the Last Alliance of Elves and Men and refused to fight on either side. For this reason, Isildur cursed them, proclaiming that, if the Alliance triumphed, they would linger in the mountains until one of his heirs called them again to fight against Sauron.

Isildur's curse succeeded: their people dwindled and eventually died out, until only their ghosts remained at the end of the Third Age. When Aragorn and company took the Paths of the Dead and, deep within the mountains, summoned them to the Stone of Erech, their shades followed him. At the Stone at midnight, Aragorn unfurled his banner, declared himself the heir of Isildur, and commanded the dead to aid him; they obeyed, and defeated the armies of the Corsairs of Umbar who were attacking the landings in southern Gondor. (Supposedly, the only weapon that they required was fear, driving their enemies to cast themselves madly into the sea.) When those foes were defeated and Aragorn could claim the black ships of the Corsairs for his own, he declared that the curse was lifted and the dead departed forever. When the dead had gone, the men of southern Gondor joined Aragorn in the ships and sailed to the aid of Minas Tirith.

Portrayal in adaptations

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

In the film the battle with the Corsairs occurred off-screen and the Army of the Dead accompanied Aragorn to Minas Tirith to defeat Sauron's orcs, after which Aragorn declared their curse lifted.