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Map of the river Anduin and surrounding areas
|J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium location|
|Other name(s)||The River,|
The Great River,
River of Gondor,
|Type||The longest river in the Third Age|
|Location||Between the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood flowing south and through Gondor to the Great Sea|
In J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional Middle-earth, Anduin is the Sindarin name for the Great River of Wilderland, the longest river in the Third Age (the original Sindarin name means Long River). The ancestors of the Rohirrim called it Langflood. It flowed from its sources in the Grey and Misty Mountains to the Mouths of Anduin (Ethir Anduin) in the Great Sea (Belegaer). In her Atlas of Middle-earth, Karen Wynn Fonstad estimates a total length of 1,388 miles (2,233 km).
The Great River first appeared in print in The Hobbit, where it is an obstacle to Bilbo Baggins (the titular protagonist) and his companions. In The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship travels down Anduin in Elven-boats for nine days.
The Anduin began as two different streams near where the Misty Mountains met the Grey Mountains. These were called the Langwell and the Greylin by the Éothéod when they lived in the triangle of land formed by it. Their old capital Framsburg was built at the confluence of these streams where the Anduin proper began. The Langwell had its source in the Misty Mountains, close to Mount Gundabad and the Greylin began in the westernmost heights of the Grey Mountains.
The upper Anduin flowed parallel to the Misty Mountains in a broad vale which formed the western part of Rhovanion, lying between the mountains and Mirkwood. After passing the Carrock and Lórien, the river and mountains parted company, and the river meandered through the Brown Lands (once the home of the Entwives) via the North and South Undeeps until it flowed through into the Emyn Muil. There it negotiated the Sarn Gebir (a series of ferocious rapids), rushed past the Argonath, and entered a lake (Nen Hithoel).
Thence it plunged over the Falls of Rauros into the lower Anduin, which flowed past the Mouths of the Entwash, the marshes known as the Wetwang (Nindalf) and the island of Cair Andros. It then passed between the White Mountains and the Mountains of Shadow through the ancient capital of Gondor, Osgiliath, before swinging past the harbour of Harlond close to the Rammas Echor south of Minas Tirith (Barbara Strachey, in Journeys of Frodo, places the harbour just outside the wall), and the Emyn Arnen and down past the port of Pelargir, entering the Great Sea in the Bay of Belfalas in a broad delta known as the Mouths of Anduin.
In order from north to south: the Rhimdath (Rushdown), Gollum's stream, the Gladden (Ninglor) which joined at the marshes known as the Gladden Fields, the Silverlode (Celebrant), the River Limlight, the Entwash (Onodló), the Morgulduin, the Erui, the Sirith and the Poros. The first five had their sources in the Misty Mountains, the Morgulduin and (presumably) the Poros in the Ephel Dúath on the border of Mordor, and the rest in the White Mountains.
Any traveller attempting to pass into the eastern regions of Middle-earth would have to cross the Anduin at some point along its long course (unless one passed through the extreme north, risking a passage through the Grey Mountains). The Old Forest Road which led from the High Pass into Mirkwood crossed the river at the Old Ford, to the south of Beorn's Halls. In the time of the War of the Last Alliance, a bridge had been there.
There were many bridges in the city of Osgiliath, broken by the forces of Mordor and by the Gondorians themselves in their retreat.
During the March of the Elves in the Time of the Trees, the Nandor left the Eldarin host when faced with the great heights of the Misty Mountains, and lived in the Vale of Anduin. Some of those people later left and became the Green-elves of Ossiriand, but Elves remained present even until the time of the War of the Ring, strengthened by refugees from Beleriand (at the end of the First Age) and Eregion (during the Second).
Settlements in the Vale of Anduin during the Third Age included the northman city of Framsburg, Beorn's Halls, and the Stoor settlements near the Gladden Fields (where Sméagol/Gollum was born). It was in the Gladden Fields in the northern reaches of Anduin that Isildur was slain and the One Ring lost; and it was there, more than two millennia later, that Déagol found the Ring and Sméagol took it from him. The Vale of Anduin was also home at various times to many woodmen and other folk. At the time of the War of the Ring, the descendents of Beorn, with these some of these men, known as the Beornings, maintained a realm between the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood, including control of the passage of the old ford. Rhosgobel, home of Radagast the Brown, and the Elven Realm of Lothlórien also lay in the Vale of Anduin.
Once it had entered Gondor the river flowed past Osgiliath and Minas Tirith and then Pelargir, close to the sea. After the fall of Osgiliath the river effectively marks the eastern limit of Gondor's influence.
The principal islands appear to have been Cair Andros, on the borders of Ithilien and Tol Brandir in Nen Hithoel. Carrock, in the north was where the Eagles deposited Thorin and Company. There was also an eyot, where the Fellowship rested during their travel between Lothlórien and Parth Galen.
Anduin Reach naming debate
In March 2009, it was submitted to the New Zealand Geographic Board that a 2-kilometre stretch of the Upper Waiau River in Fiordland National Park be named "Anduin Reach" to honour the work of director Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, which was filmed in the country. A debate was sparked as to whether landmarks should be named in honour of motion picture productions, and several newspapers ran stories when the submission was denied by the Board.
- Ian Brodie. 2002. The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook, Published by Harper Collins, ISBN 1-86950-452-6, 96 pages