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Into Hithlum


Sep 10 2012, 12:12pm

Views: 347
Into Hithlum [In reply to] Can't Post

My question concerns the geography of the Firth of Drengist and the Gate of the Noldor:

Feanor burns the ships, and (according to Of The Return Of The Noldor, Silmarillion): '... went up the long Firth of Drengist that pierced the Echoing Hills of Ered Lómin, and passed thus from the shores into the great land of Hithlum;...' and in the next sentence, the Orcs 'came through the passes of Ered Wethrin'. I note this second part only because it is so close to the first, but I don't get the feeling that Feanor had to seek out any mountain passes here (in a land new to him).

In other words, even though we are admittedly dealing with highly compressed history here, there seems to be no suggestion that Feanor crossed any mountains, or considerable heights, but rather followed a natural gap that 'pierced' the Ered Lómin. Fingolfin appears to have taken this course as well, because Morgoth sends an army that attempts to enter Hithlum from the West '... and came down the coasts to the Firth of Drengist, by the route that Fingolfin followed from the Grinding Ice.' (also from Of The Return Of The Noldor, Silmarllion).

This would seem a natural entry into Hithlum from the Sea, for large enough numbers even, and both the maps for The Silmarillion and The Children of Húrin appear to reflect this. Description in the Grey Annals is similiar enough to the Silmarillion (section 43): 'Drengist is a long firth which pierces the Echoing Hills of Eryd Lómin that are the west fence of the great country of Hithlum. Thus the host of Feanor passed from the shores into the inner regions of Hithlum...'

Tolkien's map (The War of the Jewels) is interesting here: there looks to be a gap in the mountains, although granted this style of depicting mountains is different from the style which KWF employs. And also the river from the mountains of Mithrim has a clear gap in its course, above which is written Annon Gelyð...


'C 4 The clearly marked gap in the stream flowing into the Firth of Drengist represents its passage underground; with the name Annon Gelyð cf. Annon-in-Gelydh (the Gate of the Noldor) in the later Tale of Tuor, Unfinished Tales p. 18. (...)' Christopher Tolkien, The War of the Jewels

In the later Fall of Gondolin (Unfinished Tales) Annael speaks of departing into the South, but Tuor wonders how they can do so and escape the net of their enemies. The answer is: the Gate of the Noldor, made in the days of Turgon. In the Quenta Silmarillion it is noted that thus Tuor's flight from Hithlum: '... was marked by neither Man nor Orc, and no knowledge of it ever came to the ears of Morgoth.' (as in Qenta Noldorinwa, in The Shaping of Middle-Earth). There is another passage in the later Fall of Gondolin however, in which Tuor sees the Echoing Mountains: '... that in those regions marched north and south, fencing off the far coastlands of the Western shores'

This latter description seems to say there is no obvious gap, although generally speaking these mountains were a fence from the West. Anyway, could we have a pass through the mountains large enough to allow for a considerable host to travel, without actually crossing mountains. And if secrecy is wanted, later Annon-in Gelydh is available, but which must be close enough to this gap, as the tunnel issued into Cirith Ninniach.

But I note Karen Wynn Fonstad's map (pages 8 and 14 in my edition of her Atlas of Middle-earth, revised edition): it looks to me as if there is no real gap in the Echoing Mountains, and the Firth of Drengist seems to turn into the river that flows within Cirith Ninniach -- which river disappears into a cliff face, emerging later at the Gate of the Noldor.

This appears to follow Tuor's journey well enough, but what about in earlier days, considering the passage of both Feanor and Fingolfin's host into Hithlum? Or maybe I just missed something.

In other words, according to KW Fonstad's map, how did Feanor and Fingolfin, and some orcs, pass into Hithlum? Especially the orcs, as they came the coasts and chose the same way as the Elves -- in other words, if all are crossing notable mountains here, why this point necessarily?

Subject User Time
The Atlas Of Middle-Earth Barrow-Wight Send a private message to Barrow-Wight Sep 9 2012, 3:09am
    It's wonderful. sevilodorf Send a private message to sevilodorf Sep 9 2012, 3:48am
    Seconded mandel Send a private message to mandel Sep 9 2012, 7:10am
        Maybe lots of folks think it's not as accurate as it should be Asger Send a private message to Asger Sep 9 2012, 10:06am
        It's accurate enough for me - geordie Send a private message to geordie Sep 9 2012, 3:24pm
            That's a good endorsement, imo alienorchid Send a private message to alienorchid Sep 20 2012, 9:51am
                Kind of you to say so ! geordie Send a private message to geordie Sep 20 2012, 9:14pm
        accurate see Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Sep 9 2012, 7:07pm
            KWF and Hithlum's mountains Noel Q. von Schneiffel Send a private message to Noel Q. von Schneiffel Sep 10 2012, 6:52am
                Into Hithlum Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Sep 10 2012, 12:12pm
    It's a good thing to be a map lover in this fandom... Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Sep 9 2012, 11:23am
        stamp of approval Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Sep 9 2012, 2:28pm
    Great Book! iandea14 Send a private message to iandea14 Sep 11 2012, 5:13pm
    The Atlas Of Middle-earth Sam20 Send a private message to Sam20 Sep 11 2012, 6:32pm


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