Tyrn Gorthad ~ More widely known as the Barrow-downs

“He turned his glance eastward, and he saw that on that side the hills were higher
and looked down upon them; and all those hills were crowned with green mounds, and on some were standing stones,
pointing upwards like jagged teeth out of green gums.”


Lay Your Staff HERE to Return to Mordor’s Main Page


TolkienCanon3The history of the Barrow-down goes back to the First Age of Middle-earth, when men related to the Edain lived upon these hills. Later after the coming of the Númenóreans from the West and the founding of the North Kingdom of Arnor, the hills were settled by the Dúnedain. The place eventully became renowned for it’s great Barrows, which held the burial places for the kings of the North. In the middle of the second millennium of the Second Age,  during the wars with Kingdom of Angmar, the Witch-king sent the Barrow-wights to Tyrn Gorthad and ever after they haunted these lonely hills.

In the year 3018 of the Third Age, Black Riders from Mordor came to the Shire hunting the Ringbearer. It is rumored, that the Lord of the Nazgûl stayed for several days in the Barrow-downs, waiting as several of the riders hunted for Frodo through the woods of Hobbiton.

Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin feel under the spell of a Barrow-wight  upon the downs and were save when they called Tom Bombadil in the darkness.

BarrowDowns1“The hobbits sprang to their feet in alarm, and ran to the western rim. They found that they were upon an island in the fog. Even as they looked out in dismay towards the setting sun, it sank before their eyes in to a white sea, and a cold grey shadow sprang up in the East behind them. The fog rolled up to the wall and rose above them, and as it mounted it bent over their heads until it became a roof: they were shut in a hall of mist whose central pillar was the standing stone.

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘Fog on the Barrow-downs’


Out of the east the biting wind was blowing.  To his right there loomed against the westward stars a dark black shape. A great barrow stood there.
‘Where are you?’ he cried again, both angry and afraid.
‘Here!’ said a voice, deep and cold, that seemed to come out of the ground. ‘I am waiting for you!’
‘No!’ said Frodo; but he did not run away. His knees gave, and he fell on the ground. Nothing happened, and there was no sound. Trembling he looked up, in time to see a tall dark figure like a shadow against the stars. It leaned over him. He thought there were two eyes, very cold though lit with a pale light that seemed to come from a remote distance. Then a grip stronger and colder than iron seized him. the icy touch froze his bones, and he remembered no more.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘Fog on the Barrow-downs’


BarrowDowns2While they were eating Tom went up to the mound, and looked through the treasure. Most of these he made into a pile that glistened and sparkled in the grass. he bade them lie there ‘free to all finders, birds, beasts Elves or men, and all kindly creatures’; for so the spell of the mound should be broken and the scattered and no Wight ever come back to it. He chose for himself from the pile a brooch set with blue stones, many shaded like flax-flowers or the wings of blue butterflies. He looked long at it, as if stirred by some memory, shaking his head, and saying at last.
‘Here is a pretty toy for Tom and his lady. Fair was she who long ago wore this on her shoulder. Goldberry shall were it now, and we will not forget her!’
For each of the Hobbits he chose a dagger, long, leaf-shaped, and keen, of marvelous workmanship, damasked with serpent-forms in red and gold. They gleamed as he drew them from their black sheaths, wrought of some strange metal, light and strong, and set with many fiery stones. Whether by some virtue in these sheathes or because of the spell that lay on the mound, the blades seemed untouched by time, unrusted, sharp, glittering in the sun.
‘Old knives are long enough as swords for hobbit-people,’ he said. ‘Sharp blades are good to have, if Shire-folk go walking, east, south, or far away in dark and danger.’ Then he told them that these blades were forged many long years ago by Men of Westernesse: they were foes of the Dark Lord, but were overcome by the evil king of Carn Dûm in the Land  of Angmar.

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘Fog on the Barrow-downs’


“There loomed against the westward stars a dark black shape. A great barrow stood there.”


Artwork on this page has been modified from its original form to enhance the layout of this site.
Lay your staff on the images to discover more about the artists.

 Posted by at 6:33 am