Fords of Isen
|Fords of Isen|
|"Ethraid Engrin" by Matěj Čadil|
|Other names||Crossings of Isen, Athrad Angren, Ethraid Engrin|
|Location||In the Gap of Rohan where the North-South Road crossed the River Isen|
|Description||A double ford – two shallow arms of the river surrounding a large eyot|
|Events||First Battle of the Fords of Isen|
Second Battle of the Fords of Isen
|Gallery||Images of the Fords of Isen|
The Fords of Isen were the crossing point of the North-South Road on the river Isen in the Gap of Rohan. At the western border of the realm of Rohan and at a strategic position between the Misty Mountains and the White Mountains, the Ford was the main entrance to Rohan from the west, and constantly guarded by the Rohirrim.
The River Isen (Sindarin Sîr Angren) could not be crossed anywhere south of Isengard, except at the Fords of Isen, which were just above the point where the river bent west towards Belegaer. In this area the river became broad and shallow, flowing across a stony shelf and branching into two arms about a large eyot. Only here could large forces effectively cross the river. During much of the time the Fords were closely guarded from the fortresses of Isengard and the Hornburg at Helm's Deep.
In S.A. 3320, two Númenórean Kingdoms were established - Arnor in the north and Gondor in the south. Between them ran a road built by the Númenórean Exiles to connect their realms. A traveler journeying southward through Enedwaith along the North-South Road would come to the point where it crossed the River Isen (then known by its Elvish name of 'Angren'). The crossing of the Fords of Isen—the Ethraid Engrin (or Athrad Angren) as they were known in those times—marked the point of entry into the southern land of Gondor.
In T.A. 2510 the Steward Cirion granted the land of Calenardhon to Eorl the Young. The River Isen then became the western boundary of the new realm of Rohan and responsibility for the great road and the Fords fell upon the Rohirrim, although it was agreed that free passageway would be maintained for all travelers of either people.
In T.A. 2758 a force of Dunlendings led by Wulf invaded Rohan through the Crossings of Isen. King Helm attempted to fight them off at that point but was defeated and retreated to Suthburg while Rohan was overran.
In the First Battle of the Fords of Isen (on 25 February, 3019) the Orcs of Saruman, reinforced by Dunlendings and wolfriders, plus two battalions of Uruk-hai, rushed down upon Théodred, King Théoden's son, and killed the Prince. This blow against the leadership of Rohan was Saruman's main objective in this battle and his forces then withdrew.
Erkenbrand of Westfold maintained a defence at the Fords after the First Battle, under the immediate command of Grimbold, strengthened by Elfhelm and his riders. However, on 2 March, 3019 the host of Saruman overwhelmed the defenders and swept across the Fords in the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen.
Portrayal in adaptations
- Two different versions of the Fords exist in the game. When approached from the direction of Dunland in the west, the Fords are held by the Rohirrim forces led by Grimbold in anticipation of the First Battle of the Fords of Isen, in which the player participates. When approached from the direction of Westfold in the east, the Fords are in the aftermath of the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen, with all Rohirrim defenders scattered or slain and Dunlending looters searching the bodies of the fallen.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan", (iii) Cirion and Eorl
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Chief Days from the Fall of Barad-dûr to the End of the Third Age"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Many Partings"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan", note 47