HASA Resources

Places in Middle-earth

Midgewater Marshes

Type: Rivers & Lakes

Region: Arnor/Eriador/Lindon

Location: Large wetlands between Bree-land and Amon Sûl, north of the Great East-West Road.

Description:

[Strider's] plan... was... to steer as straight as he could over the wild lands to Weathertop Hill. In that way they would... cut off a great loop of the Road, which... bent southwards to avoid the Midgewater Marshes. But, of course, they would have to pass through the marshes themselves, and Strider's description of them was not encouraging.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 11, A Knife in the Dark

On the third day out from Bree they came out of the Chetwood. The land had been falling steadily..., and they now entered a wide flat expanse of country.... They were far beyond the borders of the Bree-land..., and drawing near to the Midgewater Marshes.

The ground now became damp, and in places boggy and here and there they came upon pools, and wide stretches of reeds and rushes filled with the warbling of little hidden birds. They had to pick their way carefully to keep both dry-footed and on their proper course. At first they made fair progress, but as they went on, their passage became slower and more dangerous. The marshes were bewildering and treacherous, and there was no permanent trail even for Rangers to find through their shifting quagmires. The flies began to torment them, and the air was full of clouds of tiny midges that crept up their sleeves and breeches and into their hair.

Midge swarm (Culicoides spp).
Midges, Culicoides spp, at Mývatn ('midge lake'), Iceland: the Midgewater Marshes were named after this lake.
'I am being eaten alive!' cried Pippin. 'Midgewater! There are more midges than water!'....

They spent a miserable day in this lonely and unpleasant country. Their camping-place was damp, cold, and uncomfortable; and the biting insects would not let them sleep. There were also abominable creatures haunting the reeds and tussocks that from the sound of them were evil relatives of the cricket. There were thousands of them, and they squeaked all round, neek-breek, breek-neek, unceasingly all the night, until the hobbits were nearly frantic.

The next day, the fourth, was little better, and the night almost as comfortless. Though the Neekerbreekers... had been left behind, the midges still pursued them.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 11, A Knife in the Dark


Etymology
Midgewater Marshes.  Translate by sense. (The name was suggested by Mývatn in Iceland, of the same meaning.)

"Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings", by J.R.R. Tolkien, in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, by Wayne G Hammond and Christina Scull

Contributors:
Lyllyn 10Sep03
Elena Tiriel 14Mar10

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