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Cirith Thoronath

From Tolkien Gateway
(Redirected from Sornekiris)
"Glorfindel and the Balrog" by John Howe
Cirith Thoronath
General Information
Other namesCristhorn
LocationMountains north of Gondolin
DescriptionHigh mountain pass with a sheer drop
People and History
EventsFall of Gondolin

Cirith Thoronath, the "Eagles' Cleft", was a pass through the northern part of the Echoriad, the mountains that encircled Gondolin.[1] The Cirith Thoronath was a narrow and dangerous path with a yawning emptiness next to it.


When the city of Gondolin fell, Tuor and Idril led the Exiles of Gondolin through a secret passage to the north of the city. After crossing the Vale of Tumladen, hidden by the fume and mists of the destruction, the refugees climbed the dreadful pass that crawled up the side of the highest peaks. As the escapees climbed they were attacked by Orcs led by a Balrog, for even in this unexpected spot Morgoth had set watchers.

Glorfindel was with the refugees and fought a great duel with the Balrog upon a pinnacle of rock until both fell into the abyss. Still, all would have been lost if not for the intervention of the Eagles. They stooped upon the Orcs and slew them or cast them from the Cirith Thoronath. Thus no word of the escape reached Morgoth until long after Gondolin's fall. The eagle Thorondor bore Glorfindel's body up from the abyss and he was buried in a mound beside the pass.

Cirith Thoronath debouched into the Vale of Sirion, whence the remnants of the people of Gondolin fled to the south.[2]


Cirith Thoronath is Sindarin for "Eagles' Cleft", from cirith ("cleft, ravine") + class-plural of thoron ("eagle").[3]

Other versions of the legendarium

The early Gnomish name was Cristhorn, while in Qenya was Sornekiris, although this was never used in narrative.[4]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entries kir, thoron
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part II", entry "Cristhorn"