|"Under the Spell of the Barrow-wight" by Ted Nasmith|
|Location||Most notably in Barrow-downs|
|Owner||The rich among the dead|
|Appearance||Mounds ("barrows") in which the dead were placed with some of their wealth|
Barrows were earthworks and burial chambers made by Men.
History[edit | edit source]
In the late Second Age and afterwards, the Tyrn Gorthad lay within the bounds of Arnor and later of Cardolan. The Dúnedain of Cardolan used the barrows to bury their dead, such as the last prince of Cardolan, slain in the war of T.A. 1409.
On 28 September T.A. 3018 Merry, Pippin, Sam, and Frodo were captured by a Barrow-wight when they had wandered the downs after visiting Tom Bombadil. Within the barrow (believed by some to be that of the last prince of Cardolan, also considering that Merry saw his last memories in dreams, even mentioning the "men of Carn Dûm" ) Frodo awoke to see his friends lying on the floor looking deathly pale. He heard a song or incantation and saw a long arm groping towards Sam. Seizing a sword, Frodo hewed off the hand of the arm, then began reciting the rhyme that Tom had taught the hobbits. Tom broke into the chamber and rescued the hobbits, banishing the wight.
Etymology[edit | edit source]
A "barrow" (or "berrow"; from English beorg, berg, 'hill, mound') not to be confused with the wheeled vehicle, is a tumulus or other prehistoric grave-mound.
Inspiration[edit | edit source]
Prehistorical burial mounds and stone circles are found all around Europe, creating a long tradition and superstitions. In some barrows the interred are found with gold and other precious things, which according to folklore are guarded by Wights. In Norse folklore such burial mounds are haunted by the undead known as draugr.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
- Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "Fog on the Barrow-downs", pp. 144-5; Index, 'Cardolan, last prince of'
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Fog on the Barrow-downs"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 766
- J.R.R. Tolkien; Christina Scull & Wayne G. Hammond (eds), The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, "Commentary"