Talk:Iron Hills

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Latest comment: 11 January 2013 by Dwarf Lord in topic Speculation issues

In the Infobox is given the Sindarin name of the Iron Hills: Emyn Engrin. But does Tolkien use this name anywhere? Not in LoTR, afaik, neither does it appear in the Index of the HoME. If it is not extant in Tolkien's texts, it shouldn't be mentioned at all, I suppose. --Tik 19:49, 11 November 2007 (EST)

I can't recall anywhere in which Tolkien specifically uses the term, however if we know what "iron" is in Sindarin, and we know what "hills" is in Sindarin, then we can say with some confidence what "Iron Hills" translates to. It should be made clear that this is nothing more than an educated guess however. --Hyarion 12:51, 12 November 2007 (EST)
Well, then should a short article, defining it, be made, or should the hyperlink be removed, or made a redirect?--Quidon88 01:51, 13 December 2007 (EST)

In the description it is said that the hills were a remnant of the Iron Mountains. As far as I know, this is not stated anywhere by Tolkien, and the geography of Middle-Earth would tend to preclude this to be the case -it would be much more likely for the Ered Mithrin. –– Elendil November 28, 2009

Speculation issues

I don't see the logical or textual issue of my additions being removed from this page. It is a fact that the Iron Hills were the primary source of all iron ore for the Longbeard house of the Dwarves. They mined there for as possibly as far back as the Years of the Trees all the way to the last time it is mentioned and that is the Hobbit. At this time it was also the military super power of Wilderland. Being the only realm capable of taking on Sauron's forces -even above the Elves of Mirkwood and Lorien. At this time it was also where a very large portion if not a majority of Longbeards lived other than wandering or in the Blue Mountains with Thorin, etc. We know that the Durin's folk (Longbeards) began to mass migrate back to Erebor with it retaken and Dáin as king. Those especially in the Blue Mountains being a prime example like the families of Thorin's company of Dwarves. We also know that since prior to reclaiming Erebor that Durin's folk began to have a slowly increasing baby boom of sorts more so than they had before (when the Iron Hills seems to have been the only permanent dwelling left of theirs) with Thráin/Thorin's settling in the Blue Mountains. Further by 2990 the Dwarves believed their numbers to be at a point where they believed their numbers great enough they could try retaking Moria. It is also a fact that it nowhere in Tolkien's writings that the Dwarves just up and abandoned or even partially so the Iron Hills, their equalivent as a nation to the US's primary coal supplies being from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Sure the epicenter of power was moved to Erebor, but that is to be expected. Even when Erebor was still ruled by Thrór, his brother Grór's following that left the Grey Mts. was large and their amount of commerce/trade back and forth was massive.

Those are the facts. To my last point: on a logical level (and we know that Tolkien was extremely logical and practical in his creation of a mythical world not all that different from our own) why in all of Middle-earth and Valinor would the Dwarves all of a sudden not continue to use the Iron Hills as they were? It makes no economic, logical, or practical sense. This has been a long post, but it is necessary to prove my point. Yes I can't point to a single sentence that backs what I put on their but for crying out loud with the facts and common sense in place why in the world try to argue against it? Speculation should be tolerated if it is backed with textual evidence and logic/common sense. --Dwarf Lord 03:12, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I also support speculation based on common sense; at some point, I had authored/proposed an "original research" policy but eventually it was declined. Robert Foster also provides some minimal speculation in his Guide. At this point he notes:

The Iron Hills pass out of records after this, but they may not have been deserted.

So Foster observes that the Iron Hills are not mentioned after the H and feels it is an observation interesting enough to be mentioned in his entry. Yet he clarifies his observation by saying that this silence doesn't necessarily mean that the Hills were deserted.
I think that this simple thread of thought covers yours as well. He doesn't mention a reason why they were not mentioned again, nor a reason why they shouldn't have been deserted, only a commonsensical possibility. But since it is a published (and generally well-respected) reference work, we can afford citing it in order to complement the article and fill the historical gap, without resolving to our own speculation.
BTW where is it mentioned that the Iron Hills supplied dwarves with iron? Other than the name itself. Sage 12:23, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is a fine line between inference and speculation. That they mined iron is itself an inference from the name "Iron Hills", the fact that the Dáin's army from the Iron Hills is described as being adorned with iron caps, and that 'there was great traffic of ore between them [the folk of Erebor] and their kin in the Iron Hills' (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"). Tolkien does not explicitly say that they mined iron, but it is heavily implied. Now, to say that iron continued to be mined in the Iron Hills as long as Durin's folk lasted goes beyond reasonable inference and into speculation. As a general rule of thumb, if you feel inclined to precede statements with 'likely' or 'probably' then you should take a long hard look at what you're saying and make sure that it isn't speculation. I agree, Sage, that as Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle-earth holds some authority it should be used to backup the suggestion that the Iron Hills may not have been deserted. That's why I think the article, as it stands now, is acceptable (expect perhaps the statement that the Iron Hills were 'militarily the strongest realm in Wilderland', which seems like speculation to me). Just my two pennies. I believe that Morgan will be able to give an explanation of our original research policy.-- KingAragorn  talk  contribs  edits  email  17:30, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe the statement 'militarily the strongest realm in Wilderland' is mentioned in The Quest of Erebor. I am somewhat neutral about the discussion itself. --Amroth 18:20, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 KingAragorn. Basically our original research policy consists of not having any original research. The role of an encyclopedia is to summarize information from other sources, which is why we need references for everything.--Morgan 18:21, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Amroth, thank you. The "C" version of "The Quest of Erebor" says that 'To resist any force that Sauron might send to regain the northern passes in the mountains and the old lands of Angmar there were only the Dwarves of the Iron Hills, and behind them lay a desolation and a Dragon.' I will make the changes.-- KingAragorn  talk  contribs  edits  email  18:42, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
to answer your questions:

1.You can find the mentioning of the Iron Hills being the main source of iron for the Longbeards in HoME XII Of Dwarves and Men p. 302, 8th line from the bottom. Where Tolkien gives a history of the Dwarves and their interaction with the men of Wilderland. Hence the only reason I have ever put so much emphasis on the iron bit. 2. as KingAragorn pointed out it is stated in Appendix A and the UT that the Iron Hills were, in a different way of saying it, the military super power of Wilderland.

Well that is to me rather unfortunate, Morgan. The fun thing about coming back to this website over and over again for the past 7 years has been digging out nuggets of information out of the mythology and sharing it with everyone. Often times these things that "reputed" mythology guides like Foster's book either don't mention, construe or totally overlook. No fan fiction, no made up stuff but hard facts with logic to back them up. --Dwarf Lord 02:15, 11 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with you, Dwarf Lord, that "digging out nuggets of information out of the mythology" is the fun part of Tolkien Gateway. But in my opinion we should restrict ourselves to collect such pieces only from Tolkien's texts (a good example is the above-mentioned note from HoMe XII about the Iron Hills being the main source of iron) and, in some cases, from authoritative sources like Foster's work. To use logic to create plausible versions of the mythology does not yield "hard facts", and must be differentiated from interpreting information found in Tolkien's works. --Morgan 10:39, 11 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well then we will have to agree to disagree, Morgan. Speculation to me will always be okay if it is based in textual backing, context, and logic.

When it comes to men like Foster I honestly think the likes of us actually have a better and far wider reaching grasp of Middle-earth than him. That may come off as arrogant, but honestly he has the same material to work with that we do, and I know we have done a much better job with it. Granted I understand he is only one man, and he has limits as a person and from the publishing company. However I do believe as I would wager you do too that THE place for Tolkien’s mythos is here at TG. That guide Foster made doesn’t hold a candle to this site and never will nor will any other. We often have more info on certain subjects, less errors, and by far more content. period (as is expected). --Dwarf Lord 17:14, 11 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]