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Thrór's Map is a map that proved important in the retaking of Erebor.
The Dragon Smaug attacked and destroyed the Kingdom under the Mountain in T.A. 2770. Thrór went into exile with his kin and sometime until, old and desperate, he went to Moria in T.A. 2790 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 he stated that they had to have been written under a moon in the same phase on the same date in some past year.
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.
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. Through many adventures, they were able to recover Erebor and bring about the destruction of Smaug, dealing Sauron a serious reverse.
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.
the door an
d three may
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
"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.
Portrayal in adaptations
- 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.
- The Map is featured in the movie. At Rivendell Elrond places it on a pedestal on a veranda in order to read it.
- 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.
- 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.
- The signature probably refers to Thrór's initials, Thrór, son of Thráin or how it is written in Khuzdul, Thrór Thráinul.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Short Rest"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Fire and Water"
- Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator, pp. 90-5
- J.R.R. Tolkien; Douglas A. Anderson, (ed.), (2002) The Annotated Hobbit: Revised and Expanded Edition, p. 399
- Official website