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Isen

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The Isen by Alan Lee

The River Isen (or Sîr Angren in Sindarin[1]) began in the southern Misty Mountains, first flowing south through Nan Curunír and across the Gap of Rohan to the edge of the White Mountains, where it abruptly bent west and ran to the sea of Belegaer. At a distance of about 50 lári west of the Gap of Rohan, the Isen was joined by its tributary, the river Adorn.[2] The North-South Road crossed the river at the Fords of Isen where there was a small eyot.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

Etymology

Why the river was called Isen, or "Iron" in modern English, is not known. Presumably the grey pebbles on the bottom and the banks of the river made the water look iron-grey.

See also

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife", Note 6, p. 214
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen", p. 356
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen", Note 4, p. 364
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Flotsam and Jetsam"