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Places in Middle-earth

Glanduin

Type: Rivers & Lakes

Region: Arnor/Eriador/Lindon

Meaning: border-river

Other Names
Swanfleet river [see Notes, below]

Location: A river flowing westwards from south of the Mountains of Moria, joined by the Sirannon, through the Swanfleet marshes until it joins the Hoarwell near Tharbad, thus creating the Greyflood; part of the southern boundary of Eregion and Arnor.

Description:

Map of Tharbad.
Map of the Tharbad region, showing the Glanduin River.
Next day they went on into northern Dunland.... [They] rode [northwards] at ease until they reached the Swanfleet river, 1 and found the old ford, east of the falls where it went down suddenly into the lowlands. Far to the west in a haze lay the meres and eyots through which it wound its way to the Greyflood: there countless swans housed in a land of reeds.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 5, Many Partings

Eriador was of old the name of all the lands between the Misty Mountains and the Blue; in the South it was bounded by the Greyflood and the Glanduin that flows into it above Tharbad.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur: The North-kingdom and the Dúnedain

Glanduin means "border-river." It was the name first given (in the Second Age), since the river was the southern boundary of Eregion, beyond which pre-Númenórean and generally unfriendly peoples lived, such as the ancestors of the Dunlendings. Later it, with the Gwathló formed by its confluence with the Mitheithel, formed the southern boundary of the North Kingdom.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix D, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Port of Lond Daer

If the name Glanduin was remembered at all it would only be in Rivendell; and it would apply only to the upper course of the river where it still ran swiftly, soon to be lost in the plains and disappear in the fens.... If the river had any name it was in the language of the Dunlendings.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix D, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Port of Lond Daer

At the point of the confluence of Glanduin and Mitheithel the land was almost flat, and the waters become sluggish and tended to spread into fenland. But some hundred miles below Tharbad the slope increased. The Gwathló, however, never became swift, and ships of smaller draught could without difficulty sail or be rowed as far as Tharbad.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix D, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Port of Lond Daer

It was my father's intention to enter, in a revised map of The Lord of the Rings, Glanduin as the name of the upper course of the river, and to mark the fens as such, with the name Nîn-in-Eilph (or Swanfleet). 2 In the event his intention came to be misunderstood, for on Pauline Baynes' map the lower course is marked as "R.Swanfleet," while on the map in the book... the names are placed against the wrong river.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix D, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Port of Lond Daer


Notes
1In The Return of the King VI 6 it is called the Swanfleet river (not River), simply as being the river that went down into the Nîn-in-Eilph, 'the Waterlands of the Swans'.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix D, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Port of Lond Daer

2The map was in fact revised in the Fiftieth Anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings, published in 2004.

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 15Jul04, 8Dec05, 13Jul10

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