Nargil Pass

From Tolkien Gateway
This article is about the pass in Mordor. For the dirk of Nargil in The Lays of Beleriand, see Beleg's whetting spell.

The Nargil Pass was a pass over the Ephel Dúath between Near Harad and Nurn in the south of Mordor.[1]

It is possible that one of the great roads of Mordor that ran south to tributary lands, from which the soldiers of Barad-dûr brought wagon-trains of goods, booty and slaves to supply the armies of Mordor, ran over the Nargil Pass.[2]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

The Nargil Pass is not mentioned in the narrative of the final published versions of The Lord of the Rings and is not mentioned in the maps that were published with The Lord of the Rings and with Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth. The name Nargil pass is mentioned in the earliest draft of the chapter "The Muster of Rohan" and the name Nargul Pass is mentioned in a later draft of that chapter.

In those drafts it is said that Orcs or the forces of Sauron, respectively, used the pass to move from Mordor to the south.[3][4] The Nargil Pass is spelled "Narghil Pass" on the First Map of The Lord of the Rings[5][6] and "Nargil Pass" on the 1943 Map of The Lord of the Rings[7]. The Nargil Pass is located in the southern part of the Ephel Dúath east of the headwaters of the river Harnen and east of Barad-dûr on the First Map of The Lord of the Rings.[8][1]

Although the Second Map of The Lord of the Rings and the Third Map of The Lord of the Rings do not include a label "Nargil Pass", the contour lines of the Ephel Dúath on those maps indicate a gap in approximately the same location as on the First Map of The Lord of the Rings that could be a pass.[9][10]

Etymology[edit]

The meaning of the name Nargil is unclear.[11] Roman Rausch and Matthew Dinse suggest that Nargil likely contains lenited Noldorin cîl ("cleft, pass between hills, gorge") (KIL-). The initial element either contains syncopated narg- from NÁRAK ("tear, rend") or nar- from NAR- ("flame, fire"), perhaps referring to the colour red as in Narosîr, Narodûm, Nargalad or Nardol. Possible tentative translations could be "Rending Gorge", "Red Pass" or "Fire Pass".[12]

The earlier name Narghil could be explained that KIL- ("divide") has a parallel stem SKEL. As is evident from other SK-stems, this initial cluster yields h- in Noldorin. As a consequence, Narghil could consist of unlenited hîl ("gorge, pass") as the second element and narg- as the initital element. There is a slight possibility that both forms contain gil or lenited ghil with reference to the sun, as in Barangils.[12]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "XV. The First Map of The Lord of the Rings", "Maps IIIA and III", Map III, on the border between map square S16 and S17, p. 309
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Land of Shadow", p. 923
  3. 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, draft A, p. 237
  4. 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, draft E, p. 243
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, "First Map of The Lord of the Rings", (accessed 11 January 2022), map square O15
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "XV. The First Map of The Lord of the Rings", "Maps IIIA and III", p. 310
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "II. Book Five Begun and Abandoned", "Notes", note 13, p. 265
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, "First Map of The Lord of the Rings", (accessed 11 January 2022), on the border between map square N14 and O14
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Maps: MIDDLE-EARTH", (accessed 11 January 2022), map square N14
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "XIV. The Second Map", The Second Map (East), map square S16 p. 435
  11. Paul Strack, "N. Nargil loc.", Eldamo - An Elvish Lexicon (accessed 7 December 2021)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Roman Rausch, "2.52 Narghil Pass, Nargil Pass", Sindanoorie (accessed 7 December 2021)