Dunharrow

From Tolkien Gateway
Dunharrow by Ted Nasmith

Dunharrow or the Hold of Dunharrow was a fortified refuge of the Rohirrim in the White Mountains[1] south of Edoras[2]

Appearance

Dunharrow was a level upland on the top of a high cliff on the eastern side of the Harrowdale hundreds of feet above the floor of the valley. On the other sides the upland was surrounded by three mountains, the Írensaga to the north, the Starkhorn to the south and the Dwimorberg to the east.[3][2]

In order to reach the refuge, a steep winding road known as the Stair of the Hold had to be climbed up a cliff on the eastern side of the Harrowdale, which led through a cutting between walls of rock at the top to the "Firienfeld", a large grassy area for the encampment of soldiers and refuge-seekers.[3]

A double row of unshaped standing stones ran over the centre of the Firienfeld from its western side near the top of the road to the east to the Dimholt,[3] a wood of dark trees with a hollow place near the entrance to the Paths of the Dead below the Dwimorberg[4].

History

"Theoden's army on the road to Dunharrow" by Roger Garland

Dunharrow was built in the Second Age during in the Dark Years before a ship came to the western shores of Middle-earth and before the Dúnedain established the realm of Gondor by long-forgotten men whose name was lost and not remembered in legends or songs. Later no one in Rohan knew if it had been built as a town, a secret temple or a tomb of kings or for some other purpose.[3]

The Drúedain are known to have carved statues in their own likeness, which could watch over places and could be animated by their crafter to attack invaders in Beleriand in the First Age.[5] It is mentioned that "no power or terror" was left in the Púkel-men on the winding road up to Dunharrow.[3] At the end of the First Age most of the Drúedain had remained in the White Mountains where they were persecuted by Men who had arrived later from the East who had fallen back into the service of the Dark and the Drúedain were ultimately driven from the White Mountains to the mountains of Andrast and to woods in Anórien.[6] As a consequence, it is possible that Dunharrow was built by the Drúedain and that they were driven from there or that they carved the Púkel-men in Dunharrow and that the standing stones and the Paths of the Dead were built by those later arrived Men in the service of the Dark.

When the Rohirrim came to the region to search for strong places where they could take refuge in times of dangers, king Brego and his son Baldor went up the Stair of the Hold to Dunharrow and talked to an old man who sat on the threshold of the Dark Door who told them that the way was made by those who are Dead, that is is shut and kept by them until the time comes.[7] In T.A. 2569 finished the building of Meduseld, the Golden Hall, in Edoras. At the opening feast for the new hall[7] Baldor vowed that he would walk the Paths of the Dead.[8] In T.A. 2570, Baldor went to Dunharrow, entered the Dark Door and did not return.[9] It is possible that the Rohirrim assumed that Dunharrow could have been a temple, because they called itDúnharg in their own language[10], which means temple on the hillside[11].

When Rohan was invaded by the Dunlendings in T.A. 2758 some Rohirrim, including Fréaláf, took refuge in Dunharrow. Soon after the end of the Long Winter in 2759 Fréaláf and a small company of men led a daring surprise raid from Dunharrow against the Dunlendings in spring during which they recaptured Edoras and killed Wulf, the leader of the Dunlendings, in Meduseld.[12]

Some Orcs who were driven from the north in the War of the Dwarves and Orcs traversed Rohan and sought refuge in the White Mountains.[13] Those invaders were hunted down by Brytta Léofa. However some were seen still lingering near Dunharrow and killed King Walda and his companions when they rode by mountain paths from Dunharrow in T.A. 2851.[14]

Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, and the Grey Company arrived at Dunharrow on 7 March T.A. 3019 and then left at dawn the next day to take the Paths of the Dead. Théoden came to Dunharrow with his riders and Merry on 9 March and rode out for Gondor on the 10th.[15]

Etymology

Dunharrow is the modernized form of Rohanese (Old English) Dúnharg[10] (or Dūnhaerg), which means "the heathen fane on the hillside".[11] A fane is an archaic word meaning temple.[16]

The first element of the name is probably dún ("mountain", "hill").[17] The second element of the name is haerg ("temple"[18]), which was modernized as harrow, because it exists as an element in English place-names, such as Harrow (on the Hill).[11]

Other versions of the legendarium

Dunharrow by J.R.R. Tolkien (obsolete drawing)

In an earlier draft version of the chapter The King of the Golden Hall the name Dunberg was used for the refuge where the people of Rohan may long defend themselves, which was later called Dunharrow.[19]

In earlier versions of the chapter The Muster of Rohan the name Dunharrow was used as the name of the mountain, which was later called Starkhorn.[20][21] In the first version there was a natural amphitheatre on the western side of the mountain and there were caves in the mountain, which had been made by forgotten men as their dwelling and holy place who had vanished and gone away and mingled with the people of Dunland and Lebennin. It is also mentioned that some folk, dark with grey eyes, in whose veins flowed the blook of the forgotten men still lived at Dunharrow.[22] In a later version this concept is retained, a long forgotten folk, which had vanished and gone far away had dwelt there and made a dark temple.[23] In the next version the it is mentioned that the ancient men of Dunharrow whose name was lost had not served Sauron and made a refuge that no enemy could conquer there.[24] In the following version the Rohirrim only found one old man who spoke in a strange language that they could not understand when they came first to Dunharrow and wondered where the rest of his people were.[25] In those versions the caves including a torchlit hall for feasts were later used by the Rohirrim.[26]

Tolkien had made an illustration of Dunharrow and the Firienfeld, that was first published in The Lord of the Rings 1977 Calendar. That illustration represented an earlier conception of the Dark Door, that didn't fit the description in the published text. Christopher Tolkien noted that the Dimholt and the pillar of stone are absent. Tolkien himself had added the note 'No longer fits story'.[27]

In a later version of the chapter the two lines of standing stones led to a dark wood called the Firienholt that climbed on the sides of a hill called the Firien with a huge doorway and caverns in the side of the hill, which no one had dared to enter in living memory.[28] In an outline for book V the name Firgen is mentioned in brackets after Firien for the hill and the name Halifirien is provided as an alternative name. Dunharrow is the name of a cave in the hill and that cave is said to be a haliern.[29] A haliern (hálig-ern) is an Old English word for a holy place or a sanctuary.[30]

Tolkien made two other drawings of Dunharrow , which were published in Sauron Defeated and also represented earlier conceptions that do not fit the description in the published text.[31]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Unfinished index for The Lord of the Rings", in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, entry Hold of Dunharrow, p. 407
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Map of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Muster of Rohan", p. 794
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Passing of the Grey Company", p. 786
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain", "The Faithful Stone"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain", "Further notes on the Drúedain"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Muster of Rohan", p. 797-8
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", "The Kings of the Mark", entry 2512-70 2. Brego, p. 1068
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entry for the year 2570, p. 1087
  10. 10.0 10.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Pronunciation of Words and Names", "Note", p. 1129
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 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, entry Dunharrow, p. 769
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", p. 1067
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", "The Stewards", entry for steward Beregond, p. 1054
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", "The Kings of the Mark", entry 2780-2851 12. Walda, p. 1069
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years", entries for the year 3019, March 7, 8, 9 and 10, p. 1093
  16. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 407
  17. Bosworth Toller's Anglo-Saxon Dictionary online, "DÚN f.", Eldamo - An Elvish Lexicon (accessed 14 April 2024)
  18. Bosworth Toller's Anglo-Saxon Dictionary online, "hearh f.", Eldamo - An Elvish Lexicon (accessed 14 April 2024)
  19. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "XXVI. The King of the Golden Hall", p. 447
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "II. Book Five Begun and Abandoned", (ii) The Muster of Rohan, pp. 240 and 242
  21. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "IV. Many Roads Lead Eastward (1)", Notes, note 2
  22. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "II. Book Five Begun and Abandoned", (ii) The Muster of Rohan, pp. 235-236
  23. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "II. Book Five Begun and Abandoned", (ii) The Muster of Rohan, p. 238
  24. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "II. Book Five Begun and Abandoned", (ii) The Muster of Rohan, p. 241
  25. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "II. Book Five Begun and Abandoned", (ii) The Muster of Rohan, p. 242
  26. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "II. Book Five Begun and Abandoned", (ii) The Muster of Rohan, pp. 236, 242-244, 247-248
  27. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien, picture 29. Dunharrow
  28. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "II. Book Five Begun and Abandoned", (ii) The Muster of Rohan, p. 251
  29. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "II. Book Five Begun and Abandoned", (iii) Sketches for Book Five, p. 257
  30. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "II. Book Five Begun and Abandoned", Notes, note 35, p. 267
  31. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part One: The End of the Third Age: Appendix, Drawings of Orthanc and Dunharrow", p. 140 and p. 141, p. 136 and p. 137
Route of the Fellowship of the Ring
Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas
Rivendell · Eregion · Caradhras · Moria · Lothlórien · Caras Galadhon · Anduin · Parth Galen · Amon Hen · Eastemnet · Fangorn Forest · Rohan · Edoras · Hornburg · Isengard · Dunharrow · Paths of the Dead · Gondor · Hill of Erech · Lamedon · Linhir · Lebennin · Pelargir · Minas Tirith · Osgiliath · Cross-roads · Ithilien · Dagorlad · Black Gate · Field of Cormallen · Cair Andros · Gondor · Minas Tirith · Anórien · Rohan · Edoras · Isengard
Boromir
Rivendell · Eregion · Caradhras · Moria · Lothlórien · Caras Galadhon · Anduin · Parth Galen · Amon Hen
Frodo and Sam
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Gandalf
Rivendell · Eregion · Caradhras · Moria · Celebdil† · Lothlórien · Fangorn Forest · Edoras · Hornburg · Isengard · Rohan · Anórien · Gondor · Minas Tirith · Osgiliath · Cross-roads · Ithilien · Dagorlad · Black Gate · Field of Cormallen · Cair Andros · Gondor · Minas Tirith · Anórien · Rohan · Edoras · Isengard
Merry
Rivendell · Eregion · Caradhras · Moria · Lothlórien · Caras Galadhon · Anduin · Parth Galen · Amon Hen · Emyn Muil · Eastemnet · Fangorn Forest · Wellinghall · Derndingle · Isengard · Hornburg · Dunharrow · Drúadan Forest · Gondor · Minas Tirith · Anórien · Rohan · Edoras · Isengard
Pippin
Rivendell · Eregion · Caradhras · Moria · Lothlórien · Caras Galadhon · Anduin · Amon Hen · Parth Galen · Emyn Muil · Eastemnet · Fangorn Forest · Wellinghall · Derndingle · Isengard · Rohan · Anórien · Gondor · Minas Tirith · Osgiliath · Cross-roads · Ithilien · Dagorlad · Black Gate · Field of Cormallen · Gondor · Cair Andros · Minas Tirith · Anórien · Rohan · Edoras · Isengard