Dry River

From Tolkien Gateway

Dry River was the name given to the dry bed of what had once been a tributary of the River Sirion rising in the Encircling Mountains. It had joined the Sirion just north of the Ford of Brithiach.[1] At the northern end of its gully lay the entrance to the Hidden City of Gondolin.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

In primeval times (before the awakening of the Elves) the Dry River was filled with water; it drained a lake in the Encircling Mountains. Once the lake was gone the lake became the valley of Tumladen and the bed of the Dry River provided a defensible pathway into the hidden area.[3]

Aredhel and her son Maeglin, fleeing Eöl, sought and found their way up the Dry River into Gondolin in F.A. 400[4]. Unbeknownst to them Eöl followed them, also found the Dry River, and tried to enter Tumladen by stealth. He was captured and brought to King Turgon.[5]

King Turgon led an army ten thousand strong down the Dry River and up the Sirion in 472[6] where they participated in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. When the battle went against the Elves and Men Huor and Húrin held back the forces of Morgoth to allow Turgon to escape. Turgon's army marched to the Dry River and vanished into the mountains.[7]

In 496[8] Voronwë led Tuor to the Dry River and thence through the Seven Gates to Gondolin.[9] Tuor did not leave Gondolin by way of the Dry River; when the city fell he, Idril, Eärendil, and other refugees escaped by the dreadful Cirith Thoronath.[10]

After being released by Morgoth, in F.A. 500, Húrin wandered into Hithlum. In the succeeding year[11] he attempted to find access to Gondolin, but by then the Dry River entrance was blocked.[12]