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"The Last Bridge" by Ralph Damiani
General Information
Other namesMitheithel (S)
LocationEastern Eriador, running from the Misty Mountains down to Tharbad
DescriptionA rushing river[1]

The river Hoarwell, or Mitheithel was a river traversing eastern Eriador.

Course[edit | edit source]

It began in the northern Misty Mountains west of the Rhimdath River and about 100 miles north of Rivendell. The Hoarwell flowed west past the Ettenmoors and then curved southward, skirting the western edge of the Trollshaws. Flowing under the Last Bridge on the East-West Road, it coursed southward until it was joined by the Bruinen or "Loudwater". The Hoarwell turned south-west until at Tharbad it met with the Glanduin, forming the fenland called Nîn-in-Eilph or "Swanfleet". Beyond this point the combined waters were called the Gwathló.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

The Hoarwell was within the boundaries of Arnor when the realm was founded.[3] In T.A. 861[4] when Arnor was dismembered, the river was within the confines of Rhudaur.[3]

Around 1150, the Stoors came over the Redhorn Pass and settled in the Angle, the land between the Hoarwell and the Loudwater. When Angmar became powerful about 1300, these hobbits moved over the Hoarwell and settled near Bree.[4] Later, the Fallohides followed them down the river and joined the other kinds of Hobbits.[5]

In May 2941,[4] Thorin and Company crossed the Hoarwell on the Last Bridge (and later that night encountered the trolls).[1]

On 11 October 3018, Glorfindel drove the Black Riders from the Last Bridge[6] and left a beryl on the roadway to show that the path was safe.[7] Two days later, after finding the elf-stone, Aragorn led the hobbits across the bridge.[6]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

Hoarwell is a combination of hoar ("greyish-white") and Old English well ("well", "spring", "stream").[8]

The Sindarin name Mitheithel has the same meaning: "hoary spring".[9] It is composed of mith ("pale grey") and eithel ("spring", "source").[10]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

In the 1937 version of The Hobbit the Hoarwell was described as a rushing red river coming from the mountains in front of the company. In the 1966 edition the adjective "red" was removed and the river came from the north in order to match the geography of The Lord of the Rings.

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Most of the Hoarwell is open to exploration, from its sources in the Ettenmoors to its confluence with the Gwathló. Only part of it between the Ettenmoors and the Trollshaws is inaccessible.