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Places in Middle-earth

Enchanted River

Type: Rivers & Lakes

Region: Rhovanion/Misty Mtns

Location: Mirkwood

Description: The Enchanted River was a tributary in Mirkwood of the Forest River. It flowed northwest from the Mountains of Mirkwood, then curved northeast before crossing the Elf-path and flowing into the Forest River west of Thranduil's Caverns. Its black waters were enchanted so that anyone who fell in would fall into a deep sleep, though apparently touching an item that had been in the water would not have any effect:

Water, [Beorn] said, they [Thorin Oakenshield's company] would not need to carry this side of the forest, for there were streams and springs along the road. ... "But your way though Mirkwood is dark, dangerous, and difficult," he said. "Water is not easy to find there, nor food. ... There is one stream there, I know, black and strong which crosses the path. That you should neither drink of, nor bathe in; for I have heard that it carries enchantment and a great drowsiness and forgetfulness.

The Hobbit, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings

“This was their state when one day they found their path blocked by a running water. It flowed fast and strong but not very wide right across the way, and it was black, or looked it in the gloom. It was well that Beorn had warned them against it, or they would have drunk from it, whatever its colour, and filled some of their emptied skins at its bank. As it was they only thought of how to cross it without wetting themselves in its water. There had been a bridge of wood across, but it had rotted and fallen leaving only the broken posts near the bank.

Bilbo kneeling on the brink and peering forward cried: ‘There is a boat against the far bank! Now why couldn't it have been this side!’

‘How far away do you think it is?’ asked Thorin, for by now they knew Bilbo had the sharpest eyes among them.

‘Not at all far. I shouldn't think above twelve yards.’

‘Twelve yards! I should have thought it was thirty at least, but my eyes don't see as well as they used a hundred years ago.’”

Flies and Spiders, pg. 153-154, The Hobbit

“‘I don't believe it is tied,’ said Bilbo, ‘though of course I can't be sure in this light; but it looks to me as if it was just drawn up on the bank, which is low just there where the path goes down into the water.”

Flies and Spiders, pg. 154, The Hobbit

“He had stumbled, thrusting the boat away from the bank, and then toppled back into the dark water, his hands slipping off the slimy roots at the edge, while the boat span slowly off and disappeared.

They could still see his hood above the water when they ran to the bank. Quickly they flung a rope with a hook towards him. His hand caught it, and they pulled him to the shore. He was drenched from hair to boots, of course, but that was not the worst. When they laid him on the bank he was already fast asleep, with one hand clutching the rope so tight that they could not get it from his grasp; and fast asleep he remained in spite of all they could do.”

Flies and Spiders, pg. 156, The Hobbit

“They had crossed the enchanted stream; but beyond it the path seemed to straggle on just as before, and in the forest they could see no change. Yet if they had known more about it. . . .”

“. . . .they would have known that they were at last drawing towards the eastern edge, and would soon have come, if they could have kept up their courage and their hope, to thinner trees and places where the sunlight came again.”

Flies and Spiders, pg. 157, The Hobbit

Contributors: Still Anonymous, 03/23/04; Added Queer Lodgings quote: Elena Tiriel 24May04

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