This is the fashion of the lands into which the Noldor came, in the north of the western regions of Middle-earth, in the ancient days…(The Silmarillion, 118)
This post continues my chapter-by-chapter walk through of The Silmarillion. This time, I examine the fourteenth chapter of The Silmarillion, “Of Beleriand and Its Realms”.
OK, so nothing really happens in this chapter. Instead, it’s something like a textual map of Beleriand. The map of Beleriand included with The Silmarillion makes the layout of Beleriand look very complex. However, a few quick notes on Beleriand’s major boundaries will help:
North: Iron Mountains, the realm of Morgoth.
West: The Great Sea (Belegaer).
East: Blue Mountains (Ered Luin).
South: Beleriand extends far into the south, and it’s not really clear where it ends, nor does the action ever extend further south than Ossiriand.
Iron Mountains: The realm of Morgoth in the far north of Beleriand. This is not shown on the map of Beleriand in the book.
Hithlum: To the west of the Iron Mountains, this is the kingdom of Fingolfin and Fingon.
West Beleriand: West of the River Sirion, this is the realm of Finrod son of Finarfin. Also referred to as the realm of Nargothrond. Finrod’s realm also contains Cirdan’s realm.
East Beleriand: This vast land is broken up into kingdoms for Fëanor’s sons.
Doriath: The hidden kingdom of Thingol and Melian.
Ossiriand: The realm of the green elves.
There are also a few important cities and fortresses mentioned that come up often.
Key Cities / Fortresses
Angband: Morgoth’s fortress at the foot of the Iron Mountains.
Nargothrond: This was the city Finrod was inspired to build by Ulmo’s dream. It’s in the center of West Beleriand, on the bank of the River Narog.
Gondolin: This was the city Turgon was inspired to build by Ulmo’s dream. It lay near the Mountains of Terror, hidden within the Encircling Mountains.
Menegroth: The Thousand Caves of King Thingol.
There are several others that I haven’t listed, but these are the major ones. As I said, not much action in this chapter, but it does help to understand all of the different places in Beleriand.