Tolkien Gateway

Chasm of Ilmen

Christopher Tolkien's sketch, showing how Hithlum and Helcaraxë are close to the Chasm at the northern edge of the world.

The Chasm of Ilmen (Qenya: Ilmen-assa)[1] is the gap between the edge of the World and Vaiya. It is filled with the air of Ilmen.[2]

Where the interior seas fell down the Chasm of Ilmen, their waterfalls made bridges of ice which close the chasm. The ice extended to all Vaiya and even the Ilurambar.[2]

Tilion who guides the Moon plunges in the chasm between the western shores of the earth and Vaiya, the Outer Sea.[2][3]

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

Christopher Tolkien notes that in the Ambarkanta, as well as an earlier unfinished version of the Silmarillion (c. 1937),[3] there is a chasm between the Earth and the Outer Sea (=Vaiya), into which Tilion guides the Moon. However for the published Silmarillion,[4] he preferred a later passage (c. 1951)[5] where Tilion plunges into an unnamed chasm which is beyond the Outer Sea (=Ekkaia).[6] In a later note, Christopher accepts that although his father wrote that, it is not what he intended, and the Chasm lies before the Outer Sea, rather than beyond it.[7]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: [Notes to] Of the Fashion of the World", Note #5
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Of the Fashion of the World"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion", p.242
  4. Cf. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
  5. Cf. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "The Annals of Aman": §177
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Commentary on the Ambarkanta", p.154, footnote
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Two. The Annals of Aman: Commentary on the sixth and last section of the Annals of Aman", §177, pp. 136-7