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Thrór's Map

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Thror's Map by Audrey Corman.

Thrór's Map is a map that proved important in the retaking of Erebor.



After the sack of Erebor (T.A. 2770), Thrór made the map after he had been exiled from his kingdom by the Dragon Smaug. According to Elrond, the map was drawn on a midsummer night that had the same moon phase as the midsummer of T.A. 2941. Astronomically, this occurs about every 19th year. Therefore, in the years between the sack of Erebor and Thrór's death T.A. 2778 seems the most feasible date of creation.

As was traditional among the Dwarves, it was drawn with East at the top of the map and showed the Lonely Mountain of Erebor, the Running River that flowed from it, and the lands about. It also contained mention of a secret entrance to the Mountain, and (written in secret Moon-letters) instructions as to how it might be opened.

In his old age, Thrór set out to wander the lands of Middle-earth, but before departing he gave the heirlooms of his house to his son Thráin, including his Map. Years later, Thráin too set out into Middle-earth, seeking to recover Erebor himself, and taking with him the Map to guide his way. He was captured in the Wild by the servants of Sauron, but Sauron captured Thráin for one of the Seven Ring of Power he bore, and so overlooked the Map he carried too. This proved to be a serious oversight, because Gandalf secretly entered Sauron's lair at Dol Guldur while Thráin was a prisoner there, and managed to escape with the Map and the key that opened the secret door.

Using Thrór's Map, his grandson Thorin was able to lead a small group of Dwarves (and one Hobbit, a certain Bilbo Baggins) on his own quest to refound the ancient Dwarf-realm. Through many adventures, they were able to recover Erebor and bring about the destruction of Smaug, dealing Sauron a serious reverse.


The Map is decorated with Old English Runes which read a modern English text; this displays Westron of the Third Age written in cirth (Angerthas Erebor) as used by the Dwarves of Erebor.

The small text on the left, below the hand, reads.

feet high
the door an
d three may
walk abre
Th. Th

The moon-letters read by Elrond are visible in the sketch by Tolkien and read:

Stand by the grey s
tone when the thrush kn
ocks and the setting s
un with the last light
of Durin's day will sh
ine upon the keyhole

The illustration of the Map

File:Thror's Map.jpg
Sketch of Thrór's Map

"Thrór's Map" is reproduced in facsimile in The Hobbit (and as plate No. 86 in J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator). The map was drawn by J.R.R. Tolkien, and a preliminary version of the map appears as plate No. 85 in J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator.[1]

In 1979 a coloured version by H.E. Riddett was published as a poster by Allen & Unwin (together with the "Wilderland" map).[2]


  1. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator, pp. 90-5
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien; Douglas A. Anderson, (ed.), (2002) The Annotated Hobbit: Revised and Expanded Edition, p. 399
Maps of Arda made by or for J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit:  Thrór's Map · Map of Wilderland
 TLOTR:  A Part of the Shire · General Map of Middle-earth · Map of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor · The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age
Other:  Map of Beleriand and the Lands to the North · Númenórë‎
Baynes:  A Map of Middle-earth · There and Back Again
Early maps:  The earliest map‎ · I Vene Kemen · The First 'Silmarillion' Map · Ambarkanta maps · The Second 'Silmarillion' Map · First Map of The Lord of the Rings