Places in Middle-earth
Type: Rivers & Lakes
Region: Rhovanion/Misty Mtns
Meaning: Sword grass; any plant with sword-shaped leaves, especially the European Iris fœtidissima. From Glaædene, an Anglo-Saxon word
Other Names Sîr Ninglor (River of golden water flowers)
Location: The Gladden River drains the eastern slopes of the Misty Mountains at about the midpoint of the range.
Description: Although there is little description of the river, some facts are available. It is described in UT as "the torrent of the Gladden River" so we can surmise it was a large, swift river over at least part of its course.
"The river had been shown on the Map of Wilderland in The Hobbit, with marshy land at its confluence with the Great River, suggesting a region where 'gladdens' would grow."
HoMe VI, Return of the Shadow, Ch 24, The Ring Goes South, Note 4
In Peoples of Middle-earth there are several mentions of Sméagol's people lingering by or returning to their home by the River Gladden when the other hobbit groups had left. The statement "For eastern Eriador was less friendly and fertile than Wilderland and many of the tales speak of the hard times endured by the early emigrants," suggests that the area by the Gladden was particularly fertile. In addition, that group was descibed as fishing, suggesting that the river had abundant fish. This possibly relates to Gollum's love of fish - a memory of happier days, as well as the only game that might be available in the cave in the Misty Mountains.
Contributors: Lyllyn 2.16.04