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(Redirected from Grinding Ice)
Frozen glacial desert
Stefan Meisl - Helcaraxe.jpg
"Helcaraxe" by Stefan Meisl
General Information
Other namesGrinding Ice, Narrow Ice
LocationBetween Araman and northern Middle-earth
TypeFrozen glacial desert
DescriptionDangerous, foggy waste with icy hills
EventsMigration of the Noldor under Fingolfin
GalleryImages of Helcaraxë
"In the north these shores, in the ancient days after the Battle of the Powers, bent ever westward, until in the northernmost parts of Arda only a narrow sea divided Aman [...] from the Hither Lands; but this narrow sea was filled with grinding ice, because of the violence of the frosts of Melkor."
Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Noldor in Beleriand"

Helcaraxë was the perilous icy wastes that formerly lay between Araman (a region in the north of Aman) and Middle-earth in the far north of Arda.[1] Here met the Encircling Sea and the Belegaer, creating "vast fogs and mists of deathly cold, and the sea-streams were filled with clashing hills of ice and the grinding of ice deep-sunken."[2]

Fingolfin Leads the Host Across the Helcaraxë by Ted Nasmith

At the beginning of the First Age, Oromë decided not to lead the Eldar of the Great March there, on their way to Valinor, because of the ice and extreme cold, but rather took them by the Sea.[3]

Escaping the pursuit of the Valar after destroying the Two Trees of Valinor, Morgoth and Ungoliant fled to Middle-earth across the treacherous wastes of the Helcaraxë. Later, Fingolfin and his people also made their way into Beleriand across the Helcaraxë. Many died while crossing it, including Elenwë, Turgon's wife.[2]

Helcaraxë was also referred to as the Grinding Ice.[4][5] Another name for this region was perhaps also the Narrow Ice, used by Bilbo Baggins in his poem Song of Eärendil.[6]

[edit] Etymology

In the Etymologies, the second element in Helkarakse is said to be the Quenya word karakse ("jagged hedge of spikes").[7] Helge Fauskanger has suggested that the first element (hel-) derives from the root KHELEK ("ice").[8] Robert Foster suggests the translation "ice fangs".[9]

Also in the Etymologies, Tolkien experimented with Noldorin translations of Hekarakse: elcharaes, helcharaes or Helcharach.[7][10]

[edit] See also


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Noldor in Beleriand"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", p. 362, entry "KARAK-"
  8. Helge Fauskanger, "English-Quenya Wordlist (Quettaparma Quenyanna)" at Ardalambion (accessed 25 June 2011)
  9. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry "Helcaraxe"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Addenda and Corrigenda to the Etymologies — Part One" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter and Patrick H. Wynne), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 45, November 2003, p. 19