List of Middle-earth rivers
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See also: Minor places in Middle-earth
- A river of Rohan, arising in the White Mountains. Together with the river Isen, it formed the western border of the Kingdom of Rohan. The Adorn joined with the Isen about 150 miles (240 km) west of the Gap of Rohan.
- The triangle of land between the Isen, Adorn, and the White Mountains was nominally part of the Kingdom of Rohan, but in the late Third Age it was a contested area between the Rohirrim and the Dunlendings.
- See Gwathló
Main article: Anduin
- See Isen
- The sixth and most southerly tributary of the Gelion, the others being Ascar, Thalos, Legolin, Brilthor and Duilwen. It was the last of the seven rivers that defined Ossiriand.
- The name means double stream in Ilkorin, referring to a parting of the river about the isle of Tol Galen, and many more along its path due to its slow current.
- The southern river of Doriath and northern tributary of the Sirion. It rose in the northern lands around Himring and met the Sirion in the south-west at Aelin-uial. It formed the southern border of the Kingdom of Doriath.
- A river in Ossiriand. The name means rushing, impetuous. It was the northern-most tributary of the Gelion, and the second river of Ossiriand. After the Sack of Doriath by Dwarves, Beren Erchamion fought and killed the looters there. Doriath's treasure was lost in the Ascar, and it was renamed Rathlóriel ('Goldenbed').
- Also called the Brandywine, the fourth-longest river in Middle-earth behind the Anduin, the Celduin (or Running), and the Greyflood/Hoarwell (or Gwathló/Mitheithel). Originating from Nenuial (Lake Evendim) in northern Eriador, the river flowed through the easternmost reaches of the Shire, forming its eastern border except for Buckland which lay between it and the Old Forest. Its only major crossings in the Shire were the Brandywine Bridge (originally Bridge of Stonebows) on the East Road, Bucklebury Ferry, and Sarn Ford in the Southfarthing. Skirting the Old Forest to the south, the river then crossed Sarn Ford and flowed to the north of the depopulated region of Minhiriath before flowing into the Sundering Sea to the north of the forested region of Eryn Vorn. The name Baranduin was Sindarin for "golden-brown river". The Hobbits of the Shire originally gave it the punning name Branda-nîn, meaning "border water" in original Hobbitish Westron. This was later punned again as Bralda-hîm meaning "heady ale" (referring to the colour of its water), which Tolkien renders into English as Brandywine. To the Hobbits of the Shire, the Brandywine was the boundary between the known and unknown, and even those who lived in Buckland on the immediate opposite shore were considered "peculiar". No tributaries of the Baranduin are described except those near or in the Shire: The Water - central Shire, from the northwest; the Stockbrook, arising in the Woody End; the Shirebourn - rising in Green-Hill country with a tributary Thistle Brook; and Withywindle from the Old Forest. There is a Girdley Island in the river just above the Brandywine Bridge.
- A river of the Falas region of Beleriand. Its name is Sindarin, probably meaning "pebbly", from brith "broken stones".
- A tributary of the Gelion. It was the fifth from the north of the seven rivers that defined Ossiriand.
- Also called the Loudwater, a major tributary of the Mitheithel (or Hoarwell) river. The Bruinen began with two tributaries in the Misty Mountains, one of which flowed from the High Pass where Goblin Town was later dug. The river formed the southern border of the Kingdom of Arnor and later the petty-realm of Rhudaur, south of it lay Eregion or Hollin. The southern arm of the Bruinen flowed through the deep valley where Elrond founded the refuge of Imladris or Rivendell. Elrond had some control over the river. The Bruinen could be crossed only at a ford near Rivendell. This ford, and by extension the river, was called the Edge of the Wild. When Thorin Oakenshield and company went to reclaim Erebor, they passed the Bruinen after their adventure with the Trolls, before they rested at Rivendell. At the beginning of the War of the Ring, Frodo Baggins was carried on Glorfindel's horse towards the Ford of Bruinen, with the Ringwraiths in hot pursuit. It was here that Frodo, poisoned by a deadly wound, made his stand, and defied the Witch-king of Angmar. This lured the Ringwraiths into the Bruinen, and Elrond and Gandalf the Grey released a great flood, which took the form of horses made out of water due to Gandalf's magic. This flood killed the horses of the Ringwraiths.
- Mark T. Hooker observes that Loudwater is the name used in the nineteenth century for a river south-east of Oxford. Modern maps, however, show the name of this body of water as the Wye. Loudwater is also the name of a village on the Loudwater, three miles from Beaconsfield, along the A40.
- Hooker parses the name Bruinen as: brui (loud) + nen (water), and remarks on the similarity of the element brui to the French word bruit (noise), which is pronounced [brui], the final ‘T’ being silent.
- A river of Rhovanion, also called Redwater. The Carnen flowed southward from the Iron Hills east of the Lonely Mountain until it met the Celduin about 250 miles to the south. From there the rivers flowed as one to the Sea of Rhûn, past the land of Dorwinion.
- The kingdom of Dale after its refounding extended into the angle between the Celduin and the Carnen. It is quite possible that the Men of Dale and Esgaroth and the Wood-elves traded along the rivers.
- A river of Rhovanion, also named the River Running. The Celduin was a 600–miles long river that ran from the Lonely Mountain south through the Long Lake, where it was joined by the Forest River, and thence through the eastern outskirts of Mirkwood. Afterwards it flowed south east through the wide eastern plains of Rhovanion to its confluence with the Carnen, and finally in a long south-eastward loop to the great inland Sea of Rhûn, past the land of Dorwinion.
- See Silverlode
- A tributary of the Taeglin that flowed past Brethil forest. Glaurung was slain by Túrin near where this river met the Taeglin, and Nienor Níniel committed suicide by jumping in it.
- Flowed by Nan Elmoth in East Beleriand. It met up with the river Aros later in its course, eventually flowing into Sirion.
- The Second of the Five Rivers of Lebennin in Gondor. It began in the White Mountains and became a tributary of the Sirith.
- A river of Gondor, springing at an isolated peak in Lamedon. It flowed past Calembel and became a tributary of the Ringló.
- A river of Rohan flowing out of the Glittering Caves past the Hornburg and then through the Deeping-coomb. The lower course is not referred to; it possibly joined the Isen, but some have concluded that it flowed across Rohan to join the Entwash.
- Tolkien confirmed that Deeping-stream is the correct spelling, not Deeping Stream.
- Dry River
- The former river whose bed served as the hidden entrance to Gondolin.
- A tributary of the Gelion. It was the sixth from the north of the seven rivers that defined Ossiriand.
- Enchanted River
- A dark running river under a sleeping spell in Mirkwood. Its origin was in the Mountains of Mirkwood, and it met the Forest River near Thranduil's Caverns. The stream was enchanted because anyone who touched its waters fell into a dream-filled sleep from which they could not be woken for days.
- The Mirkwood Elves kept a small boat where their Elf-path reached the Enchanted River, so that they could cross the stream without touching it. In The Hobbit, this river forms an obstacle for the quest of Thorin and company: the boat was on the far side of the stream.
- A river of Rohan. Its name is a translation of Sindarin Onodló. Its sources were the springs that arose beneath Methedras, the southernmost peak of the Misty Mountains, near Treebeard's home. Leaving the Fangorn forest, the Entwash flowed past the Wold of Rohan and headed south, dividing Rohan into the West and East Emnets. At the latitude of Edoras it was joined by the river Snowbourn, and then ran east towards the Anduin, joining it just south of the Falls of Rauros in the huge inland delta known as the Mouths of the Entwash. The Mering Stream met one of the Entwashes' arms there.
- The Entwash river was named for the Ents (Onodrim) of Fangorn, but the origin of the name was largely forgotten by the Rohirrim at the end of the Third Age.
- A river of Gondor, arising in the White Mountains. It was counted the first of the Five Rivers of Lebennin.
- The river began near Mount Mindolluin and flowing south through the province of Lossarnach, where it met the Anduin about 100 miles (160 km) south of Minas Tirith. During the Kin-strife of Gondor, the Battle of the Crossings of Erui was fought at the Crossings of Erui on the road to Pelargir.
- The main river of Doriath. Doriathrin for River under Veil, the Esgalduin flowed from the hills of Dorthonion through Doriath past the caves of Menegroth, finally meeting up with the River Sirion.
- The Esgalduin had two unnamed upper branches of its own in Ered Gorgoroth. One ran along the border between Dor Dínen and Nan Dungortheb, and the other ran west for about 20 miles from the mountains into Nan Dungortheb and further south-east until merging with the first.
- Forest River
- A river that flowed through northern Mirkwood. It began in the Ered Mithrin far to the north, and then flowed south-east, diverging at points, until it was met by the Enchanted River near Thranduil's caverns. From there it continued eastwards to the Long Lake of Esgaroth, which it met in the Long Marshes.
- Gate Stream
- See Sirannon
- The principal river of East Beleriand. Its two sources were the Hill of Himring, via the Little Gelion, and the Ered Luin, via the Greater Gelion. It then passed south, dividing Estolad to the west from Thargelion to the east, then was crossed by the old dwarf-road at Sarn Athrad ("Ford of Stones"). It then passed into Ossiriand, the Land of Seven Rivers, where it was fed by the rivers Ascar, Thalos, Legolin, Brilthor, Duilwen, and Adurant, all rising in the Ered Luin.
- Gelion then passed by Taur-im-Duinath (the Forest between the Rivers) and emptied into the Great Sea Belegaer.
- Late in his life, Tolkien apparently decided to change the name "Gelion", as it did not fit the pattern of Sindarin. The possible replacements he recorded were "Gelduin", "Gevilon", "Gevelon", "Duin Daer", and "Duin Dhaer".
- The last of the Five Rivers of Lebennin in Gondor. It started as two unnamed tributaries in the White Mountains, and flowed south meeting the Serni at Linhir.
- A tributary of the Narog. It had its wells in the woods of Núath, near the Ered Wethrin in northern West Beleriand. After passing by the lands of Tumhalad it met the Narog about 50 Númenórean miles north of Nargothrond.
- A river of Rhovanion, called Ninglor in Sindarin (also Sîr Ninglor, sîr = stream, ninglor = waterlily or gladden). The Gladden was a short but important river of the Vales of Anduin. Beginning as two unnamed arms in the Misty Mountains, it flowed eastwards to the Great River Anduin, which it met in a series of marshes called the Gladden Fields.
- After the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, Isildur, King of Arnor and bearer of the One Ring, was assailed by Orcs near the Gladden Fields, and the Ring was lost here in the river. Much later during the Third Age some Stoors lived near the Gladden, and from them came Sméagol, who long held the Ring and eventually followed the stream up to its source, ending up in forgotten caves near Goblin Town. Saruman searched for the Ring extensively in the Gladden; he never found it since it was already in the possession of Gollum at that time, but he discovered Isildur's other garments.
- A river of Eriador and one of the sources of the Gwathló. The name means 'border-river' in Sindarin, as it had been the southern boundary of the Elven realm of Eregion and later of the Kingdom of Men Arnor.
- Beginning in the Misty Mountains south of Moria, it ran west-north-west until it was met by the Sirannon near the old location of Ost-in-Edhil. Further downstream the Glanduin flowed into the Swanfleet, the vast marshland north-east of Tharbad, which issued into Gwathló.
- On some maps of Middle-earth, the name Swanfleet river is erroneously placed against the Glanduin or even against the Isen, but properly Swanfleet was the name of the marshlands alone.
- See Mering Stream
- A northern tributary to the Taeglin.
- See Gwathló
- One of the two sources of the Anduin (together with the Langwell), itself having two tributary branches that flowed from the Ered Mithrin.
- The river Gwathló or Greyflood is a river in middle Eriador. The Sindarin name Gwathló was adapted from the name Gwathir, given to the river by the Númenóreans in the Second Age. Its name translates as Shadowy River, and was given because over all its length it flowed through immense forests which covered Minhiriath to the north and Enedwaith to the south. It was one of the few rivers also given an Adûnaic name: Agathurush.
- The Gwathló began in a marshy area known as Nîn-in-Eilph or Swanfleet, at the confluence of the Mitheithel or Hoarwell and the Glanduin. Its entire length was wide enough for sailing. When the Númenórean Ship Kings required more and more wood to build their ships, they set up a haven-fortress on the Gwathló called Lond Daer or Lond Daer Enedh, Great (Middle) Haven. From there the lands were rapidly deforested, and by the Third Age all the forests were gone.
- In the late Second Age and early Third Age the Gwathló formed the border between the Kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor, and the great Gondorian northern outpost of Tharbad was built on the Old South Road at the only crossing of the lower Gwathló. By the late Third Age, Gondor had retreated far south and Arnor had been destroyed; Tharbad and its great bridge were abandoned and ruined, and the river had to be crossed by the ruins of Tharbad at a dangerous ford.
- A river that originally was the southern border of Gondor. The territory to the north of it, South Gondor, later became a debatable land. South of the Harnen lay the land of Near Harad. It was some 600 miles (970 km) long, beginning in the mountains surrounding Mordor from the south and then flowing south-west for about 350 miles (560 km). There it bent west and speeds to Belegaer, which it enters in a wide delta. The Harad Road crossed the Harnen shortly after it bent westwards.
- See Mitheithel
- The Isen (or Angren in Sindarin) began in the southern Misty Mountains, first flowing south through the fortress of Isengard (or Angrenost) to the White Mountains, where it abruptly bent west and flowed to the sea of Belegaer. Its length is about 430 Númenórean miles, making it the eighth-longest known river of Middle-earth.
- Isen means Iron (cf. German eisen and Old English isærn = iron), Isengard meaning Iron fortress.
- At a distance of about 150 miles west of the Gap of Rohan, the Isen was joined by its only known tributary, the river Adorn. (The Deeping-stream was possibly a tributary, but this is not certain.) The Isen and Adorn formed the boundary of the Kingdom of Rohan, but the triangle of land between Isen, Adorn, and the White Mountains was a contested land, claimed by the Rohirrim as well as the Dunlendings. The Isen formed a natural boundary in the Gap of Rohan, and was only crossable at Isengard or at the Fords of Isen, where the Rohirrim fought a number of great battles against the Dunlendings and Saruman's Orcs in the late Third Age.
- In Peter Jackson's movie version, Saruman diverted the Isen away from Isengard as he turned the fortress into a war machine, and it was dammed at the northern wall. When the Ents attacked Isengard, they broke the dam and restored the original flow of the river, temporarily drowning all of Isengard.
- A river of Rhovanion, flowing from the northern Misty Mountains. Its name suggests it was the main source of the great Anduin river; the Langwell's confluence with the Greylin marked the start of the Anduin proper. On its northern bank was built the city of Framsburg, capital of the Éothéod.
- A river of Gondor, beginning in the south-western valleys of the Starkhorn peak of the White Mountains and flowing south-west parallel to a mountain range. It entered the Bay of Belfalas near the long cape of Andrast. The name means fifth in Sindarin, with a reference to the position of the river if counting the mouths: Erui, Sirith, Serni, Morthond, Lefnui.
- A tributary of the Gelion. It was the fourth from the north of the seven rivers that defined Ossiriand.
- Lhûn or Lune
- A river of northern Lindon emptying through a long firth into the Gulf of Lune, which breaks through the line of the Blue Mountains, and thence into Belegaer. The main map accompanying The Lord of the Rings shows three tributaries: two of them (including "the Little Lune") arising in the Mountains, and one beginning in the Hills of Evendim north of Annúminas. The Lhûn did not connect to Lake Evendim, the source of the Baranduin river.
- A stream rising in the eastern Misty Mountains. It ran through the north of Fangorn forest and emptied into the Anduin. The Limlight formed the southern boundary of the Field of Celebrant, and was claimed by people of Lothlórien as the southern boundary of their realm. It was also the historic northern border of Gondor, and later of Rohan.
- The name is from an Elvish form, but Tolkien provided different explanations of the exact meaning and even languages used in the name, including Limlich, Limliht, Limlaith and Limhîr.
- A tributary of the Sirion that joined it just to the south of the Pass of Sirion. The sources of Lithir were in Ered Wethrin.
- See Bruinen
- A northern tributary to the Taeglin.
- Mering Stream
- The border river of Rohan and Gondor. The Mering Stream or in (Sindarin) Glanhír formed the border between the Gondorian province of Anórien and Rohan's province of Eastfold. It flowed through the Firien Wood, which grew about the hill of Halifirien, and into the Entwash.
- A northern tributary of the Sirion. It began in the Ered Gorgoroth near the Pass of Anach, and was met by an unnamed tributary coming from the Crissaegrim. It formed the boundary between Dimbar and Nan Dungortheb.
- It formed the western border of the forest of Neldoreth in Doriath and was part of the Girdle of Melian. It is mentioned in Quenta Silmarillion chapter 14.
- A great river of Eriador, translated as Hoarwell in Westron. The source lay in northern Misty Mountains, from where the river sped through the Ettenmoors to bend south after them. The East Road crossed it at the Last Bridge, after which it was met by the Bruinen, forming the Angle. From there Mitheithel formed the northern border of Eregion, until came to the Swanfleet, where the Glanduin flowed, and became the Gwathló (Greyflood) river.
- (S. 'river of sorcery') A river of Gondor that began at Cirith Ungol. It flowed past Minas Morgul towards the Anduin, and was followed by the old Númenórean road from Minas Morgul to Osgiliath. It was crossed by the Harad Road with a bridge just south of the Cross-roads.
- A river of Gondor beginning at the southern edges of the Dwimorberg at the end of the Paths of the Dead in the White Mountains. It then flowed past the ancient fortress of Erech and the Pinnath Gelin. After meeting its tributary the Ringló, it entered the Sea at Edhellond. Also translated as Blackroot.
- The chief river of West Beleriand. The Narog rose from the Pools of Ivrin in the Ered Wethrin, flowed south and then southeast, flowing through a gorge in a series of rapids where it crossed the hills of the Andram or Long Wall, finally meeting the Sirion in the Land of Willows Nan-tathren, not far above the Mouths of Sirion. The Narog's tributaries were the Ginglith in the north and the Ringwil in the Taur-en-Faroth.
- Into its western bank, just south of where the Ringwil rushed into the Narog, was carved the city of Nargothrond, stronghold of Finrod Felagund.
- During his time in Nargothrond, Túrin Turambar persuaded Orodreth to build a bridge over the Narog. He did, but it resulted in the downfall of Nargothrond as it provided a way for the dragon Glaurung to reach the city.
- Nen Lalaith
- A stream of Dor-lómin that rose near Amon Darthir in Ered Wethrin and ran past Húrin's house.
- A river of the Falas. Its wells were in the hills lying north-west in West Beleriand south of the Ered Wethrin, near the Woods of Núath. It ran to the bay of Eglarest where it met the sea Belegaer.
- A river of Lothlórien. It began in the foothills of the Misty Mountains under the Celebdil peak, and then flowed through Lothlórien until it met the Silverlode. The river was named after the Elven lady Nimrodel who dwelt beside the stream.
- See Gladden
- A river in the Northfarthing of the Shire. Between it and Brandywine River stretched the Greenfields, where the Battle of Greenfields was fought. The Norbourn is only mentioned in the detailed index Tolkien was preparing for The Lord of the Rings, but which was eventually left unfinished. In the partial map of the Shire published within The Lord of the Rings an unnamed river flows from the north to the Bywater Pool, which might possibly be the Norbourn.
- See Entwash
- A river in the south of Gondor. It forms the northern border of the contested land of the South Gondor, and the southern border of Ithilien. During the later Third Age it was the effective southern border of Gondor.
- About 400 miles (640 km) long, it began in the Ephel Dúath of Mordor and then flowed south-west for about 300 miles (480 km), when it bent north and met the Anduin just before its delta. The Poros was crossed by the Harad Road at the Crossings of Poros.
- See Ascar.
- See Carnen
- A river of Gondor arising as two smaller unnamed rivers in the White Mountains, on the southern arm that bent towards Belfalas. Flowing through the city Ethring, it passed north of Tarnost, where it was met by the Ciril, and poured into the sea together with the Morthond at Edhellond.
- A tributary of the Narog. It began in the hills about Nargothrond, and flowed north of the hidden city.
- Where it met the Narog a secret door was built, which was used by Lúthien to escape from Nargothrond when Celegorm and Curufin held her prisoner.
- A tributary of the Sirion. It began in Dorthonion, and then flowed north-west until it met with the Sirion in the Fens of Serech.
- The river is mentioned twice in The Silmarillion. The first mention is in the chapter concerning Beren and Lúthien. Rivil's Well was where a camp was made by the Orcs that had killed Barahir, father of Beren. Beren attacked them there, taking back the Ring of Barahir before escaping again.
- The second mention is in the chapter concerning the Nírnaeth Arnoediad, where the valiant retreat of Húrin and Huor is described thus: "...foot by foot they withdrew, until they came behind the Fen of Serech, and had the stream of Rivil before them. There they stood and gave way no more."
- An early tributary to the Anduin river; it flowed from the Misty Mountains and joined the Great River north of the Carrock. Early writings of Tolkien also gave its Sindarin name Rhimdath.
- See Celduin
- The fourth of the Five Rivers of Lebennin in Gondor. It began in the plains of Lebennin and met the Bay of Belfalas north of the Mouths of Anduin at the city of Linhir.
- The name is usually written Serni, although in the Preface to The Adventures of Tom Bombadil Tolkien spelt it Sernui.
- A river of the Shire with the source in the uplands of the Green Hill Country of the Eastfarthing. Thence it ran south and then southeast, meeting the Thistle Brook at Willowbottom and then flowing eastwards to the Baranduin. There it formed the boggy region known as the Overbourn Marshes.
- A river of Lothlórien rising in the eastern Misty Mountains near the East Gate of Moria. It then ran through Lothlórien where it met the Nimrodel and emptied into the Anduin. The Company of the Ring followed this river when they travelled from Moria to Lothlórien.
- The Silverlode was called Celebrant in Sindarin and Kibil-nâla in Dwarvish. It also formed the northern boundary of the Field of Celebrant.
- The Gate Stream of Khazad-dûm. Beginning at the Silvertine, it flowed past the gates of Moria towards the river Glanduin. Sirannon encountered the Stair Falls under the gates of Moria, and its sound could have been heard from miles around.
- During the War of the Ring, the Company of the Ring found that the Gate Stream had been dammed by someone or something, and before the gates of Moria there was a foul lake where the Watcher in the Water dwelt.
- A great river of Middle-earth in the First Age, the principal river of Beleriand. During most of its course it was the border between East and West Beleriand. Karen Wynn Fonstad estimates its length as 390 miles in her Atlas of Middle-earth. Sirion flowed southwards along the border of the Ered Wethrin, passing through the Fens of Serech before entering the valley between the Ered Wethrin and the Pass of Sirion. It then continued south into Beleriand, with the Forest of Brethil to the west, and Dimbar and then Doriath to the east. After leaving Doriath it ran though Fens of Sirion before falling below ground in the Falls of Sirion at Andram (the Long Wall), where the ground fell steeply. Three leagues southwards the Sirion exited the underground caves at the Gates of Sirion. It then flowed southwards through Nan-Tathren until it reached the Bay of Balar, part of Belegaer, at the Ethir Sirion, Mouths of Sirion. Barad Eithel, at the source of the Sirion in the Ered Wethrin, was a chief fortress of Fingolfin and his son Fingon. Further south, in the Pass of Sirion, lay Tol Sirion in the centre of the river.
- The third of the Five Rivers of Lebennin in Gondor. The Celon was its tributary, while Sirith met the Anduin at Pelargir.
- A river of Rohan arising in the White Mountains under the mountain Starkhorn. It flowed through Harrowdale where Edoras was built, and then flowed east until it met the river Entwash. It separated Rohan's Eastfold from the West Emnet.
- A tributary of the Sirion. It rose in the southern reaches of the Ered Wethrin, ran generally southeast, receiving the waters of Glithui and Malduin, then passed along the southern margin of the Forest of Brethil, where it ran through a gorge named Cabed-en-Aras and then received the Celebros. The Taeglin then ran eastward into Sirion at the borders of Doriath.
- An important ford on the river was the Crossings of Teiglin, near the western border of Brethil. A road ran through it from Nargothrond to Minas Tirith. Minor tributaries were Celebros and Malduin. The river's banks near the Celebros was the scene of the encounter between Túrin Turambar and the dragon Glaurung.
- In the published Silmarillion and early writings, the river was called Teiglin. As revealed in The History of Middle-earth, the river name should actually have been spelt Taeglin. This was a relatively late change which was not adopted by Christopher Tolkien in his published Silmarillion.
- A tributary of the Gelion. It was the third from the north of the seven rivers that defined Ossiriand. Thalos sprang from the Ered Luin and at its springs Finrod met the first Men to enter Beleriand.
- Thistle Brook
- A stream of the Eastfarthing of the Shire. It flowed southeast round the Woody End and through the village of Willowbottom before its waters emptied into the Shirebourn.
- The Water
- A river in the Shire. It was a tributary of the river Brandywine that arose in the Westfarthing of the Shire, and flowed eastward to meet the Brandywine just north of the Brandywine Bridge. Natural features along the river included Rushock Bog and the Bywater Pool.
- The Water had its own tributaries: a stream which flowed down from the Green Hill Country to the south, used by Frodo in the early part of his journey; there was also another tributary from the Northfarthing, which entered the Water at the Bywater Pool.
- A river in the Old Forest and tributary of the Baranduin. It had its source in the Barrow-downs, then flowed over a waterfall by the house of Tom Bombadil, meandered through the Old Forest, and joined the Brandywine at Haysend. The name means 'a winding river bordered by willows (withies).' The element 'windel' means 'basket' in Old English, and thus the river's name contains an allusion to the net of trees woven by Old Man Willow from the banks of the river.
- In legends the stream was inhabited by nature-spirits, namely the River-woman and her daughter Goldberry. Bombadil discovered Goldberry in one of the river's pools, and they wed, living together in Bombadil's house. He regularly travelled along the Withywindle to gather flowers for her from her former aquatic home; she revisited during spring.
- The river ecosystem of the Withywindle was diverse, as it had been virtually undisturbed by humans (or hobbits) for thousands of years. Animal life included a variety of birds (notably swans, kingfishers, willow-wrens, coots, dabchicks, and herons); mammals ('water-rats', badgers and otters); insects (bumblebees, butterflies, moths and flies) and fish. Willows were ubiquitous, but other plants included alders, briar-roses, forgetmenots, buttercups (possibly Ranunculus arvensis), grass, reeds and water-lilies.
- The valley of the Withywindle within the Old Forest was known as the Dingle.
- The Withywindle lay within the kingdom of Arnor, which claimed the royal prerogative of swan upping in the river. However there is no evidence that the prerogative was ever exercised.
- Tom Shippey has identified the Withywindle with the River Cherwell near Tolkien's home in Oxford.
- Hooker, Mark T. (2014). The Tolkienaeum. Llyfrawr. pp. 181–182.
- Barbara Strachey (1981), Journeys of Frodo, Unwin Paperbacks, map 33, ISBN 0 04 912011 5.
- J. R. R. Tolkien (1967), Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings, published in Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull (2005), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, HarperCollins, p.768, ISBN 0 00 720308 X.
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