Serni

From Tolkien Gateway

The Serni was a river in the south of Gondor.[1]

Course

The Serni flowed from a source south of the eastern White Mountains southwestward through Lebennin until it met the river Gilrain just above Linhir.[1][2][3][4]

Etymology

The name Serni is an "adjectival formation" deriving from Sindarin sarn ("small stone", "pebble") (therefore probably meaning "stony"[5] or "pebbly") or the equivalent of the Quenya collective sarnie (sarniye) ("shingle", "pebble bank").[6][7][8]

The name of the river is spelled Serni in the maps of The Lord of the Rings and The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor. In the footnote 1 of the Preface of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil it was spelled Sernui[9] until the 2014 edition, where the editors Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond have changed the name to Serni, considering Sernui "very likely a typographic error for Serni" even though they refer to a comment by Carl F. Hostetter who informed them that sernui "would be possible as an unattested adjectival formation *'stony' from sarn 'stone'".[10]

Other versions of the legendarium

It is mentioned that the Serni continued to be called the Serni after its confluence with the Gilraen until it flowed into the sea and that its mouth was blocked with shingles in the entry Serni in the index of Unfinished Tales that was written by Christopher Tolkien in 1980 and in the etymological essay The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor that was written by J.R.R. Tolkien sometime after June 1969.[6][11][8] In addition, the label "Serni" is placed downstream from the confluence of the two rivers not far upstream from where the river flows into the Bay of Belfalas on the map of The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age, which was drawn by Christopher Tolkien and published with Unfinished Tales in 1980.[12]

On the General Map of Middle-earth, which was drawn by Christopher Tolkien in late 1953 and published with older editions of The Lord of the Rings the "R" of the label "River GILRAIN" is placed downstream from the confluence of the two rivers not far upstream where the river flows into the Bay of Belfalas. This is consistent with the location of the "R" in the label "R Gilrain" on The Third Map of The Lord of the Rings, which was drawn by J.R.R. Tolkien during the writing of The Lord of the Rings based on which Christopher Tolkien drew the General Map of Middle-earth. The text of a revised version of the draft manuscript for the chapter The Last Debate explicitly states that Linhir and the fords were on the shore of the Gilrain, that the men of Lamedon defended the passage over the Gilrain at Linhir and that the enemy had sailed up the mouth of the Gilrain.[13][14]

For the joint course of the Gilrain and the Serni from their confluence to the sea the name Linhir was also used.[15]

Portrayal in adaptations

2014: The Lord of the Rings Online:

The river Serni was found in Lower Lebennin in the region of Central Gondor. As its name indicated, it was strewn with rocks. There were two fords, with the western one being south of the town of "Malbarth" and the eastern one south of "Ost Anglebed". The Serni was the domain of the stern River-maid Grey-eye, one of the Five Sisters, though she and her sisters were widely considered a myth by the time of the War of the Ring.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Map of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Last Debate", "we came to Linhir above the mouth of Gilrain", "And there men of Lamedon contested the fords with fell folk of Umbar and Harad who had sailed up the river." and "Thus we crossed over Gilrain", p. 875
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, Index, entry Gilrain
  4. 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 Linhir "a haven with ferrybridge over Gilraen near its mouth" and entry Gilrain "river of Gondor, joining Serni and fl[owing] to [the] Sea beyond the Ethir", p. 587
  5. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, p. 348
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, Index, entry Serni
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 42, July 2001, entry Serni, p. 11
  8. 8.0 8.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part Three. The World, its Lands, and its Inhabitants: XXII. The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor", entry Serni, p. 381
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, "Preface"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien; Christina Scull & Wayne G. Hammond (eds), The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, "Commentary", p. 120-121; cf. Preface, p. 31.
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 42, July 2001, entry Gilrain, p. 10
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "XII. The Last Debate", "to Linhir beside the waters of Gilrain where there are fords that lead into Lebennin" and "There the men of Lamedon had been contesting the passage of Gilrain with a great strength of the Haradrim, and of their allies the Shipmen of Umbar, who had sailed up Gilrainmouth", pp. 411-2
  14. Christopher Tolkien, General Map of Middle-earth (published in older editions of The Lord of the Rings).
  15. 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 Linhir, "name of the joint course of Gilrain and Ringlo [i.e. Serni] bet[ween] their junction and the sea", p. 587