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From Tolkien Gateway
"The Gates of Sirion" by Ted Nasmith
General Information
LocationMiddle Beleriand
DescriptionMighty river
RegionsVale of Sirion
GalleryImages of Sirion

...and the valleys were upheaved and the hills trod down; and Sirion was no more.

Sirion was a river of Middle-earth in the First Age, the principal river of Beleriand. During most of its course it was the border between East Beleriand and West Beleriand. From the Pass of Sirion to its mouth, the river was 130 leagues in length.[1]



The Sirion's source was at Eithel Sirion on the eastern side of the Ered Wethrin, which lay in between Ard-galen (later Anfauglith) and Mithrim and Hithlum.[2] It was guarded by the tower of Barad Eithel.[1]


Sirion flowed southwards along the border of the Ered Wethrin, passing through the Fen of Serech before entering the narrow steep-sided valley between the Ered Wethrin and the Echoriath named the Pass of Sirion. Sirion then continued south into Beleriand, with the Forest of Brethil to the west, and Dimbar and then Doriath to the east. After leaving Doriath at Aelin-uial (the Fens of Sirion) it plunged below ground in the Falls of Sirion at Andram (the Long Wall), where the ground fell steeply. Three leagues southwards the Sirion exited the underground caves at the Gates of Sirion. It then flowed southwards through Nan-Tathren until it reached the Bay of Balar, part of Belegaer, at the Mouths of Sirion.[2]


In order from north to south, the principal tributaries of the Sirion were the Rivil, flowing from Dorthonion until it met Sirion in the Fen of Serech; the former Dry River, the Mindeb, which had its source in Nan Dungortheb and the Ered Gorgoroth, the Teiglin, the Esgalduin of Doriath; the Aros flowing south from Dorthonion and west along the Forest of Region (and also containing the waters of the Celon from the Hills of Himring and Himlad) which met at Aelin-uial, and the Narog, which joined Sirion in Nan-Tathren.[2]

Crossing Points

The main crossing point was the Ford of Brithiach where the road from Himlad which crossed the Esgalduin at Iant Iaur crossed Sirion north of Brethil. There was also a bridge within Doriath.[2] King Thingol's Marchwardens also kept secret ferries near Aelin-uial to cross the river.[3]


Barad Eithel, at the source of the Sirion in the Ered Wethrin, was a chief fortress of Fingolfin and his son Fingon,[1] which guarded the pass into their realm of Mithrim. Further south, in the Pass of Sirion, lay Tol Sirion (see below). After the Coming of Men, the Edain of the House of Haleth made their home in the Forest of Brethil,[4] and the Sindar ruled by Thingol lay secure within the Girdle of Melian in their realm of Doriath.[5] At the outflow of Sirion into Belegaer, after the destruction of Eglarest and Brithombar, the Havens of Sirion were built by Círdan and his people.[6]


The most important island in Sirion was Tol Sirion.[2] The original Minas Tirith was built here by Finrod Felagund in the strategic location controlling the Pass of Sirion where it entered Beleriand between the Ered Wethrin and the Echoriath.[1] Shortly after Dagor Bragollach it was captured by Sauron and the island became known as Tol-in-Gaurhoth.[7]


Sirion is Sindarin for "Great River"[8] or "Great Stream",[9] from sîr ("river")[10] with the suffix iaun ("roomy, wide, extensive") simplified.[9]

Other versions of the legendarium

According to one note in the early version of the legendarium associated with The Book of Lost Tales, the river Sirion was to be equated with either the river Rhine in Europe, or with the river Trent (emended to Severn) in England.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beleriand and its Realms"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Map of Beleriand and the Lands to the North"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Túrin Turambar"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of Men into the West"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Sindar"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names", entry "Sirion"
  9. 9.0 9.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings: Eldarin Roots and Stems", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 42
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entry sîr
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Sí Qente Feanor and Other Elvish Writings", in Parma Eldalamberon XV (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden), "Names and Required Alterations", Appendix, Text IX, p. 16