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Places in Middle-earth


Type: Mountains, Hills, Promontories

Region: Aman

Other Names
Kôr (HoME only; refers to both Túna and Tirion)

Location: A high hill built by the Eldar in the Calacirya; the city of Tirion lies on its summit.


To [the Vanyar and the Noldor] the Valar had given a land and a dwelling-place. Even among the radiant flowers of the Tree-lit gardens of Valinor they longed still at times to see the stars; and therefore a gap was made in the great walls of the Pelóri, and there in a deep valley that ran down to the sea the Eldar raised a high green hill: Túna it was called. From the west the light of the Trees fell upon it, and its shadow lay ever eastward; and to the east it looked towards the Bay of Elvenhome, and the Lonely Isle, and the Shadowy Seas....

Upon the crown of Túna the city of the Elves was built, the white walls and terraces of Tirion; and the highest of the towers of that city was the Tower of Ingwë, Mindon Eldaliéva, whose silver lamp shone far out into the mists of the sea....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 5, Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië

Woods carpeted with English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
Woods carpeted with English bluebells, Tolkien's harebells: these grew on the grassy hill of Túna.
Behold there is a low place in that ring of mountains that guards Valinor....[A] great beach of finest sand... runs inland there, where... a shadowy arm of water had groped in toward Valinor, but now there is only a slender water fringed with white. At the head of this long creek there stands a lonely hill which gazes at the loftier mountains. Now all the walls of that inlet of the seas are luxuriant with a marvellous vigour of fair trees, but the hill is covered only with a deep turf, and harebells 1 grow atop of it ringing softly in the gentle breath of Súlimo.

Here was the place that those fair Elves bethought them to dwell, and the Gods named that hill Kôr 2 by reason of its roundness and its smoothness. Thither did Aulë bring all the dust of magic metals that his great works had made and gathered, and he piled it about the foot of that hill, and most of this dust was of gold, and a sand of gold stretched away from the feet of Kôr out into the distance where the Two Trees blossomed. Upon the hill-top the Elves built fair abodes of shining white....

The Book of Lost Tales 1, HoME Vol 1, Ch 5, The Coming of the Elves and the Making of Kôr

Through the dim ravine of the Calacirya fogs drifted in from the shadowy seas and mantled [Tirion's] towers, and the lamp of the Mindon burned pale in the gloom.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 9, Of the Flight of the Noldor

... Túna beneath Taniquetil was set nigh to the girdle of Arda, and there the Great Sea was immeasurably wide....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 9, Of the Flight of the Noldor

But Eärendil climbed the green hill of Túna....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 24, Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath

1The name "harebell" was unfamiliar to me; I had researched it so as to include a description and picture in these notes. All the modern sources I consulted indicated that the name refers to Campanula rotundifolia. However, after I had in fact added notes for that flower to this entry, I stumbled across the following rather amusing passage in a letter from Tolkien to his son Christopher, which rendered my diligent research invalid.

This passage so beautifully illustrates the workings of Tolkien's mind, both as a scholar and as an author of fiction, that I included it here in its excursive entirety.

Commentary by Elena Tiriel.

English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta).
English bluebells, Hyacinthoides non-scripta: these are the flowers that Tolkien called harebells.
By the way, you wrote Harebell and emended it to Hairbell. I don't know whether it will interest you, but I looked up the whole matter of this name once — after an argument with a dogmatic scientist. It is plain (a) that the ancient name is harebell (an animal name, like so many old flower-names), and (b) that this meant the hyacinth not the campanula. Bluebell, not so old a name, was coined for the campanula, and the 'bluebells' of Scotland are, of course, not the hyacinths but the campanulas. The transference of the name (in England, not in Scotland, nor indeed in uncorrupted country-speech in parts of England) and its fictitious alteration hairbell seems to be due to ignorant (of etymology) and meddlesome book-botanists of recent times, of the sort that tried folk'sglove for foxglove!, by whom we've been led astray. As for the latter, the only part of the name that is doubtful is the glove, not the fox. Foxes glófa occurs in Anglo-Saxon but also in form -clófa: in old herbals, where it seems pretty rashly applied to plants with big broad leaves, e.g. burdock (called also foxes clife, cf. clifwyrt=foxglove). The causes of these ancient associations with animals are little known or understood. Perhaps they sometimes depend on lost beast-fables. It would be tempting to try and make some fables to fit the names.

Since clifian = 'cleave, stick', it is plain that foxes clife and clifwyrt originally = burdock. clófa is prob. an MS error for glófa through mixing the names.

The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Edited by Humphrey Carpenter, Letter 93 to Christopher Tolkien, 24 December 1944

2This text is from one of Tolkien's early drafts; the name is an earlier version of the proper name as published in The Silmarillion.

Elena Tiriel 27Nov05, 8Feb10

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