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Places in Middle-earth

Road from Isengard to the Fords of Isen, The

Type: Roads, Lanes, Ways

Region: Rohan

Location: The road from the Gates of Isengard southward to the Fords of Isen.

Table of Contents:



There was an ancient highway that ran down from Isengard to the crossings. For some way it took its course beside the river, bending with it east and then north; but at the last it turned away and went straight towards the gates of Isengard; and these were under the mountain-side in the west of the valley, sixteen miles or more from its mouth. This road they followed but they did not ride upon it; for the ground beside it was firm and level, covered for many miles about with short springing turf. They rode now more swiftly, and by midnight the Fords were nearly five leagues behind. ... They were come to the feet of the Misty Mountains, and the long arms of Nan Curunír stretched down to meet them.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 8, The Road to Isengard

After they had ridden for some miles, the highway became a wide street, paved with great flat stones, squared and laid with skill; no blade of grass was seen in any joint. Deep gutters, filled with trickling water, ran down on either side. Suddenly a tall pillar loomed up before them. It was black; and set upon it was a great stone, carved and painted in the likeness of a long White Hand. Its finger pointed north. Not far now they knew that the gates of Isengard must stand....

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 8, The Road to Isengard

The road passed slowly, winding down the valley. Now further, and now nearer Isen flowed in its stony bed. ... The shoulders of the mountain to their right sloped down to bare hills. The wide plains opened grey before them. ...

... they turned aside, leaving the highway and taking to the sweet upland turf again. Going westward a mile or so they came to a dale. It opened southward, leaning back into the slope of round Dol Baran, the last hill of the northern ranges....

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 11, The Palantír

Yet the western frontier [of Calenardhon] ... was naturally commanded by Isengard.... The Isen flowed down from its sources along the eastern wall of the Ring, and as it went on southwards it was still a young river that offered no great obstacle to invaders.... But the Great Gate of Angrenost [Isengard] opened west of Isen, and if the fortress were well manned enemies from the westlands must be in great strength ... to pass on into Westfold. Moreover Angrenost was less than half the distance of Aglarond from the Fords, to which a wide horseroad ran from the Gates, for most of the way over level ground.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 5, The Battles of the Fords of Isen: Appendix

[Said Legolas,] 'How far is it to Isengard, Gandalf?'

'About fifteen leagues, as the crows of Saruman make it.' said Gandalf: 'five from the mouth of Deeping-coomb to the Fords: and ten more from there to the gates of Isengard.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 8, The Road to Isengard


[2710, Dunlendings Occupy Isengard:]
Thinking that he had relieved Isengard of a Dunlendish siege, [Déor] sent messengers to its Gates with words of good will, but the Gates were shut upon them and the only answer they got was by bowshot. As was later known, the Dunlendings, having been admitted as friends, had seized the Ring of Isengard, slaying the few survivors of its ancient guards who were not (as were most) willing to merge with the Dunlendish fold.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 5, The Battles of the Fords of Isen: Appendix

[2758-2759, the Invasion of Rohan from West and East:]
Rohan was again invaded from the East, and the Dunlendings seeing their chance came over the Isen and down from Isengard.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The House of Eorl

[25 February 3019, the First Battle of the Fords of Isen:]
Théodred's scouts had warned him of a mustering of troops before the Gates of Isengard, mainly ... on the west side of Isen. ... But Saruman had not revealed his intentions nor the full strength of his forces. They were already on the march when Théodred set out. Some twenty miles north of the Fords he countered their vanguard and scattered it with loss. But when he rode on to attack the main host the resistance stiffened. The enemy was in fact in positions prepared for the event, behind trenches manned by pikemen, and Théodred in the leading éored was brought to a stand and almost surrounded, for new forces hastening from Isengard were now outflanking him upon the west.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 5, The Battles of the Fords of Isen

[2 March 3019, the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen:]
Grimbold ... was not willing to abandon the Fords. ... "We do not know," he said, "what force Saruman has still at his command. ... As soon as he guesses or discovers how we have disposed our defence, he will certainly send great strength at all speed down the road from Isengard, and crossing the undefended Fords come in our rear, if we are all gathered northwards.”

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 5, The Battles of the Fords of Isen

... Saruman's strength was too great. He began his attack by day, and before noon of March the 2nd a strong force of his best fighters, coming down by the Road from Isengard, attacked the forts on the west of the Fords.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 5, The Battles of the Fords of Isen

[3 March 3019, as the Hosts of Isengard leave for Helm's Deep:]
'... Saruman seems to have meant to finish off the king and all his men with one final blow. He emptied Isengard. I saw the enemy go: ... there must have been ten thousand at the very least,' said Merry. 'They took an hour to pass out of the gates. Some went off down the highway to the Fords, and some turned away and went eastward. A bridge has been built down there, about a mile away, where the river runs in a very deep channel.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 9, Flotsam and Jetsam

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 6Oct04, 28Dec04, 28Jan05

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