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Places in Middle-earth

Sirannon, The

Type: Rivers & Lakes

Region: Arnor/Eriador/Lindon

Other Names
The Gate-stream

Location: A stream that runs down the west side of the Misty Mountains from near the West-door of Moria to the River Glanduin in Hollin; the ancient Elven-way from Ost-in-Edhil to Moria followed its course; it had been dammed sometime in the Third Age, and the Watcher in the Water had taken up residence in the resulting lake.

Description: The only road of old to Moria from the west had lain along the course of a stream, the Sirannon, that ran out from the feet of the cliffs near where the doors had stood. But either Gandalf was astray, or else the land had changed in recent years; for he did not strike the stream where he looked to find it....

... they saw below them a deep and narrow channel. It was empty and silent, and hardly a trickle of water flowed among the brown and red-stained stones of its bed; but on the near side there was a path, much broken and decayed, that wound its way among the ruined walls and paving-stones of an ancient highroad. ...

'This is where the stream ran: Sirannon, the Gate-stream, they used to call it. But what has happened to the water, I cannot guess; it used to be swift and noisy.' ...

The Company ... trudged doggedly along the rough and winding track for many miles. ... Before them the mountains frowned, but their path lay in a deep trough of land and they could see only the higher shoulders and the far eastward peaks.

At length they came to a sharp bend. ... Rounding the corner they saw before them a low cliff, some five fathoms high, with a broken and jagged top. Over it a trickling water dripped, through a wide cleft that seemed to have been carved out by a fall that had once been strong and full.

'Indeed things have changed!' said Gandalf. 'But there is no mistaking the place. There is all that remains of the Stair Falls. ... There used to be a shallow valley beyond the falls right up to the Walls of Moria, and the Sirannon flowed through it with the road beside it.' ...

When they reached the top they saw that they could go no further that way, and the reason for the drying up of the Gate-stream was revealed. ... Before them stretched a dark still lake. ... The Sirannon had been dammed and had filled all the valley. Beyond the ominous water were reared vast cliffs....

'There are the Walls of Moria,' said Gandalf, pointing across the water. '... But this way is blocked. None of the Company, I guess, will wish to swim this gloomy water at the end of the day. It has an unwholesome look.' ...

The day was drawing to its end ... when the Company ... reached the side of the lake. In breadth it looked to be no more than two or three furlongs at the widest point. How far it stretched away southward they could not see in the failing light; but its northern end was no more than half a mile from where they stood, and between the stony ridges that enclosed the valley and the water's edge there was a rim of open ground. ...

When they came to the northernmost corner of the lake they found a narrow creek that barred their way. It was green and stagnant, thrust out like a slimy arm towards the enclosing hills. Gimli ... found that the water was shallow, no more than ankle-deep at the edge. Behind him they walked in file, threading their way with care, for under the weedy pools were sliding and greasy stones, and footing was treacherous. Frodo shuddered with disgust at the touch of the dark unclean water on his feet. ...

They reached the strip of dry land between the lake and the cliffs: it was narrow, often hardly a dozen yards across ... but they found a way, hugging the cliff, and keeping as far from the dark water as they might. A mile southwards along the shore they came upon holly trees. Stumps and dead boughs were rotting in the shallows, the remains it seemed of old thickets, or of a hedge that had once lined the road across the drowned valley. ...

'How I hate this foul pool!' He stooped and picking up a large stone he cast it far into the dark water.

The stone vanished with a soft slap; but at the same instant there was a swish and a bubble. Great rippling rings formed on the surface out beyond where the stone had fallen, and they moved slowly towards the foot of the cliff.

'Why did you do that, Boromir? ' said Frodo. 'I hate this place, too.... I am afraid of the pool. Don't disturb it!' ...

Frodo felt something seize him by the ankle, and he fell with a cry. ... The others swung round and saw the waters of the lake seething, as if a host of snakes were swimming up from the southern end. ... The dark water boiled, and there was a hideous stench.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 4, A Journey in the Dark

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 3Jul04

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