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Places in Middle-earth

Nîn-in-Eilph

Type: Rivers & Lakes

Region: Arnor/Eriador/Lindon

Meaning: waterlands of the swans

Other Names Swanfleet

Location: The great marshlands east of Tharbad, around the lower reaches of the Glanduin River where it approaches its confluence with the Hoarwell, which thereafter becomes the Greyflood.

Description:

Map of Tharbad.
Map of the Tharbad region, including Nîn-in-Eilph or Swanfleet, the Waterlands of the Swans.
Next day they went on into northern Dunland.... [They] rode [northwards] at ease until they reached the Swanfleet river, 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

The wide lands divided by the Gwathló into the regions called by the Númenóreans Minhiriath... and Enedwaith... were mainly plains, open and mountainless. 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....

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: a network of swamps, pools, and eyots, where the only inhabitants were hosts of swans, and many other water-birds.... In 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

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). 1 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


Etymology
nen  'water'.... Nîn 'wet' in Loeg Ningloron; also in Nindalf.

The Silmarillion, Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names

Sindarin alph, a swan, plural eilph; Quenya alqua, as in Alqualondë. The Telerin branch of Eldarin shifted original kw to p (but original p remained unshifted). The much-changed Sindarin of Middle-earth turned the stops to spirants after l and r. The original alkwa became alpa in Telerin, and alf (transcribed alph) in Sindarin.

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


Notes
1The map was in fact revised in the Fiftieth Anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings, published in 2004.

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 16Jul04, 3Sep08, 18Jul10

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