Tolkien Gateway

Misty Mountains

"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
This article or section needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of article quality.
'"How came you by it?" — Thorin
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please improve this article by introducing more precise citations where appropriate.
J.R.R. Tolkien - The Misty Mountains looking West from the Eyrie towards Goblin Gate.jpg
Misty Mountains
Physical Description
TypeMountain Range
LocationBetween Eriador and Wilderland, and Rohan's northern border
RealmsKhazad-dûm, numerous Orc-holds
InhabitantsDwarves of Durin's folk, Orcs, Trolls, Giants, Eagles
DescriptionThe largest mountain range in Middle-earth
General Information
Other namesHithaeglir, Mountains of Mist
EventsThe Great Journey of the Elves, awakening of Durin I, awakening of the Balrog, dominion of the Orcs, War of the Dwarves and Orcs

The Misty Mountains or Mountains of Mist or Towers of Mist[1] (Hithaeglir in Sindarin[note 1] as a plural) was a great mountain range that lay between Eriador in the west and the Great River Anduin in the east.

Contents

[edit] Geographic Features

In the far north the Misty Mountains formed a T with the Grey Mountains and the Mountains of Angmar.[2] They ran 795 miles (1,280 kilometers)[source?] to the Gap of Rohan in the south, where they approached vertically the White Mountains. The Gap was a passable valley between the southernmost peak of the Misty Mountains and the northernmost of the White.[note 2]

The lands around the Misty Mountains included several forests and rivers and other populated areas. Such realms under the Mountains had been Angmar, Eregion, Dunland, Lothlórien, Fangorn, and others.[2] While Elves guarded both sides of the Misty Mountains, few ever crossed them.

[edit] Important Peaks

The northernmost peak of the Misty Mountains can be considered Mount Gundabad,[2] 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, the Mountains of Moria: Redhorn (Caradhras in Sindarin), Silvertine (Celebdil), and Cloudyhead (Fanuidhol).[3] 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").[2]

[edit] Passes

Alan Lee - The Redhorn Gate

The most important passes were the High Pass and the Redhorn Pass. There was also a pass at the source of the Gladden River.[3]

[edit] History

The Misty Mountains were created by the Vala Melkor during the Years of the Trees as a hindrance for Oromë, who would hunt his fell creatures. They would later serve as a deterrent for the Elves during the Great Journey, causing some to turn south. The Elves that would not cross the Misty Mountains would become the Nandor.[1]

It is said that ancient bears lived in the Mountains until Giants arrived and the bears left to the lowlands.[4]

The great Dwarven city of Khazad-dûm (later called the "Black Pit" of Moria) was located near the middle of the mountain chain. There Durin's folk lived for thousands of years with a kingdom which spread as far as Gundabad and as far east as the Iron Hills.

At the southern tip of the Misty Mountains, beneath Methedras, was Isengard, which was originally a Gondorian fortress but was later given to Saruman.

Around 1050, the Harfoots migrated west across the Misty Mountains, fleeing the ever more numerous Men and the Shadow growing in Mirkwood, thus the Hobbits entered history. Later the other two groups of Hobbits, the Stoors and Fallohides, migrated west as well, until by 2500 no Hobbits could be found east of the mountains.

When the Dwarves were strong, the mountains were generally free of Orcs, but when the Shadow was strong, Orcs bred in Mount Gundabad, in Goblin-town, later in Moria itself, and everywhere in between. In T.A. 1300 the Orcs of the Misty Mountains started increasing and harassing the Dwarves.[5]

The awakening of Durin's Bane, drove the Dwarves from their city. It also seems that some Dwarves either before or after the War of the Dwarves and Orcs, dwelt on the eastern side of the mountains near Goblin-town.

In T.A. 2480 the Orcs begun establishing secret strongholds in the Mountains barring all the passes to Eriador from Rhovanion, while Sauron populated Moria with his creatures.[5]

Near the east exit of Goblin-town the Eagles kept an eyrie to keep watch on the Orcs.[6][7]

Gandalf believed that it was the Orcs of the Misty Mountains that had driven the people of Beorn away, and he promised to return there.<[4]

Thorin and Company used the High Pass to cross the Misty Mountains, and witnessed the mysterious Giants. Later they were captured by the Orcs of Goblin-town.[8]

It seems that Beorn's people returned to the Mountains. Once the Orcs were decimated, the Beornings kept open the passages of the Ford of Carrock and the High Pass in return for tolls.[6]

The Fellowship of the Ring faced the challenge to pass the Mountains. They decided to avoid the High Pass or the Gap of Rohan because of the threat of Orc patrols and Saruman's forces. They attempted to cross Redhorn Pass, but a powerful blizzard blocked it, forcing them to journey through Moria. There Gandalf was lost trying to stop Durin's Bane, and after falling into the abyss, he chased him up to the Dwarven Endless Stair and fought on the peak of Silvertine.[9]

It is said that in the Fourth Age Durin VII led the Dwarves back to Moria.[10]

[edit] Portrayal in Adaptations

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

The Misty Mountain range as the Fellowship tries to cross the pass of Caradhras.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Misty Mountains appear as both a major game region and within other game areas. The region of "Misty Mountains" consists of the part of the mountain range adjacent to Rivendell Valley, including both High Pass and Goblin-town. The mountain range in a broader sense can also be accessed from other in-game regions, including the pass Caradhras in Eregion, former settlement of Dwarves under Thrór in eastern Enedwaith, a village on the slopes of mount Methedras in Dunland, the cliffs of Zirakzigil in Moria and the eastern slopes of the Mountains in Lothlórien.

Notes

  1. The Hithaeglir were mispelled as "Hithaiglin" on the original Lord of the Rings map.
  2. Karen Wynn Fonstad estimates in the The Atlas of Middle-earth that some of the peaks may have been as high as 12,000 feet (3,660 meters), comparable to the Alps in Europe. Tolkien had visited the Alps in his youth and was greatly impressed by them.

[edit] References

  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Over Hill and Under Hill"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The White Rider"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"