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Sea of Núrnen

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The name Inland Sea refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Inland Sea (disambiguation).

The Sea of Núrnen also known as Lake Nurnen was an inland sea in Mordor.

The lake was fed by all four (unnamed) major water courses that traversed most of Mordor, before flowing into Nurnen.[1][2][3]

It held bitter water not suitable for drinking, but the area around it, Nurn, was fertile enough (watered by a river system coming from the Ephel Dúath) to feed the entire armies of Sauron.


[edit] Etymology

Núrnen is glossed as "sad-water".[4][5] Tolkien also suggested the form Nûrnen ("death, dead water"), and noted the related Sindarin word guru ("death").[6]

The name is commonly understood to be Sindarin,[7][8] [9] consisting of the elements Nurn + nen ("water").[7]

[edit] Commentary

In The Atlas of Middle-earth, Karen Wynn Fonstad assumed that the Sea of Rhûn and Sea of Núrnen were the remnants of the inland Sea of Helcar. The atlas was however published before The Peoples of Middle-earth, where it was revealed that the Sea of Rhûn existed already in the First Age, as an apparently different body of water than the Sea of Helcar.

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

2014: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor:

The Sea of Núrnen is featured in some levels of the game. Queen Marwen, a main character of the game, is from this place.


  1. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry "Nurnen"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  3. General Map of Middle-earth
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Unfinished index for The Lord of the Rings", in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 457
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, Index
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 87
  7. 7.0 7.1 Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 457
  8. David Giraudeau, "Parma Eldalamberon 17: Sindarin Corpus (p. 45)", Lambenórë (accessed 14 July 2011)
  9. "Compound Sindarin Names in Middle-earth", (accessed 21 July 2011)