DarkDomainsMirkwood

The Dark Forest of Mirkwood

“The path itself was narrow and wound in and out among the trunks.
Soon the light at the gate was like a little bright hole far behind, and the quiet was so deep that their feet seemed to thump along
while all the trees leaned over them and listened. “

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TolkienCanon3The forest of Mirkwood was originally called Greenwood the Great and was only part of the massive forest that once blanketed Middle-earth. A darkness had entered into the forest, its origin lay in the southern reaches, near the ruins of Dol Guldur. Dark things crept under the shadows of the trees, black squirrels, giant spiders, evil bats, wargs and orcs moved freely through the forest, troubling those who tied to cross its dark interior.

At night the forest was alive with sounds made by evil things that crawled, slithered and crept in the total darkness under the trees. The unwary traveler that entered those woods might never come out the other side if luck was not with them. Thirst, starvation and losing ones way along the path, were only the most obvious ways to meet your end in the darkness of Mirkwood.

Gandalf left Bilbo and the Dwarves with words of sage advice at the very entrance to Mirkwood, for more serious problems needed his attention to the South.

‘Stick to the forest-track, keep your spirits up, hope for the best, and with a tremendous slice of luck you may come out one day and see the Long Marshes lying below you, and beyond them, high in the East, the Lonely Mountain where dear old Smaug lives, though I hope he is not expecting you.’
‘Goodbye! Be good, take care of yourselves ~ and DON’T LEAVE THE PATH!’

From The Hobbit in the chapter ‘Queer Lodgings’

 

The walked in single file. The entrance to the path was like a sort of arch leading in to a gloomy tunnel made by two great trees that leant together, too old and strangled with ivy to bear more than a few blackened leaves. The path itself was narrow and wound in and out among the trunks. Soon the light at the gate was like a little bright hole far behind, and the quiet was so deep that their feet seemed to thump along while all the trees leaned over them and listened.
As their eyes became used to the dimness they could see a little way to either side in a sort of darkened green glimmer. Occasionally a slender beam of sun that had the luck to slip in through some opening in the leaves far above, and still more luck in not being caught in the tangled boughs and matted twigs beneath, stabbed down thin and bright before them. But this was seldom, and it soon ceased altogether.

From The Hobbit in the chapter ‘Flies and Spiders’

 

There were black squirrels in the wood. As Bilbo’s sharp inquisitive eyes got used to seeing things he could catch glimpses of them whisking off the path and scuttling behind tree-trunks. There were queer noises too, grunts, scufflings, and hurryings in the undergrowth, and among the leaves that lay piled endlessly thick in places on the forest floor, but what made the noises he could not see. The nastiest things they saw were the cobwebs: dark dense cobwebs with threads extraordinarily thick, often stretched from tree to tree, or tangled in the lower branches on either side of them. There were none stretched across the path, but weather because some magic kept it clean, or for what other reason they could not guess.

From The Hobbit in the chapter ‘Flies and Spiders’

 

Mirkwood3It was not long before they grew to hate the forest as heartily as they had hated the tunnels of the goblins, and it seemed to offer even less hope of any ending. But they had to go on and on, long after they were sick for the sight of the sun and of the sky, and longed for the feel of wind on their faces. There was no movement of air down under the forest-roof, and it was everlastingly still and dark and stuffy.  Even the dwarves felt it, who were used to tunneling, and lived at times for long whiles  without the light of the sun; but the hobbit, who like holes to make a house in but not to spend summer days in,felt that he was being slowly suffocated.

From The Hobbit in the chapter ‘Flies and Spiders’

 

SpiderMirkwoodA The nights were the worst. It then became pitch-dark ~ not what you call pitch-dark, but really pitch: so black the you really could see nothing. Bilbo tied flapping his hand in front of his nose, but he could not see it at all. Well perhaps  it is not true to say they could see nothing: they could see eyes. The slept all closely huddled together, and took it in turns to watch; and when it was Bilbo’s turn he would see  gleams in the darkness round them, and sometimes pairs of yellow, or red or green eyes would stare at them from a distance. and then slowly fade and disappear and slowly shine out again in another place. And sometimes they would gleam down from the branches just above him; and the was the most terrifying. But the eyes the he liked least were the horrible pale bulbous sort of eyes. “Insect eyes,” he thought, “not animal eyes, only they were much too big.”

From The Hobbit in the chapter ‘Flies and Spiders’

 

‘Is there no end to this accursed forest?’ said Thorin. ‘Somebody must climb a tree and have a look round. The only way is to choose the tallest tree that overhangs the path.’

From The Hobbit in the chapter ‘Flies and Spiders’

 

‘The enchanted stream in the heart of Mirkwood.’

MirkwoodLarge1

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 Posted by at 1:53 pm