Thrór's Map

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Thror's Map

Thrór's Map is a map that proved important in the retaking of Erebor.

History[edit | edit source]

The Dragon Smaug attacked and destroyed the Kingdom under the Mountain in T.A. 2770.[1] Thrór went into exile with his kin and sometime until, old and desperate, he went to Moria in T.A. 2790[2] he drew this Map, and wrote the moon-letters on a day of 1 Lithe, when the moon was "a silver broad crescent".[note 1] When Elrond read the letters in 2941[1] he stated that they had to have been written under a moon in the same phase on the same date in some past year.[3]

Thror's Map by Audrey Corman.

In his old age, Thrór set out to wander the lands of Middle-earth, but before departing he gave the heirlooms of his house to his son Thráin, including his Map. Years later, Thráin too set out into Middle-earth, seeking to recover Erebor himself, and taking with him the Map to guide his way. He was captured in the Wild by the servants of Sauron, but Sauron captured Thráin for one of the Seven Rings of Power he bore, and so overlooked the Map he carried too. This proved to be a serious oversight, because Gandalf secretly entered Sauron's lair at Dol Guldur while Thráin was a prisoner there, and managed to escape with the Map and the key that opened the secret door.[4]

Using Thrór's Map, his grandson Thorin was able to lead a small group of Dwarves (and one Hobbit, a certain Bilbo Baggins) on his own quest to refound the ancient Dwarf-realm.[4] Through many adventures, they were able to recover Erebor and bring about the destruction of Smaug, dealing Sauron a serious reverse.[5]

Description[edit | edit source]

As was traditional among the Dwarves, it was drawn with East at the top of the map and showed the Lonely Mountain of Erebor, the Running River that flowed from it, and the lands about. It also contained mention of a secret entrance to the Mountain, and (written in secret Moon-letters) instructions as to how it might be opened.

The Map's Runes are written in Anglo-Saxon Futhark however it is spelt out in modern English, not in Khuzdul. The small text on the left, below the hand, reads.

feet high
the door an
d three may
walk abre
Th. Th.[note 2]

The moon-letters read by Elrond are visible in the sketch and read:

Stand by the grey st
one when the thrush kn
ocks and the setting s
un with the last light
of Durin's day will sh
ine upon the keyhole

The illustration of the Map[edit | edit source]

Sketch of Thrór's Map

"Thrór's Map" is reproduced in facsimile in The Hobbit (and as plate No. 86 in J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator). The map was drawn by J.R.R. Tolkien, and a preliminary version of the map appears as plate No. 85 in Artist & Illustrator.[6]

In 1979 a coloured version by H.E. Riddett was published as a poster by Allen & Unwin (together with the "Wilderland" map).[7]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

When Gandalf visits Bilbo near the beginning of the film, he browses through his office in Bag End and notices the Map of their earlier adventure. The prop was made by artist Daniel Reeve.[8]

2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

The Map is featured in the movie. At Rivendell Elrond places it on a pedestal on a veranda in order to read it.

2014: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies:

At the end of the movie (at the same time the Fellowship movie starts) Bilbo leaves his room to meet Gandalf who just came, and the Map is seen again on Bilbo's desk.


  1. The exact year the Map was drawn and the letters were written is not known, but can be pinpointed sometime between 2770 and 2790 and calculated according to astronomy. Andreas Moehn suggests T.A. 2789.[1]
  2. The signature probably refers to Thrór's initials, Thrór, son of Thráin or how it is written in Khuzdul, Thrór Thráinul.


Maps of Arda made by or for J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit:  Thrór's Map · Map of Wilderland
 TLOTR:  A Part of the Shire · General Map of Middle-earth · Map of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor · The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age
Other:  Map of Beleriand and the Lands to the North · Númenórë‎
Baynes:  A Map of Middle-earth · There and Back Again
Early maps:  The earliest map‎ · I Vene Kemen · The First 'Silmarillion' Map · Ambarkanta maps · The Second 'Silmarillion' Map · The First Map of 'The Lord of the Rings' · The 1943 Map of 'The Lord of the Rings' · The Second Map of 'The Lord of the Rings' · The Third Map of 'The Lord of the Rings'