HASA Resources

Places in Middle-earth

Firien Wood

Type: Forests, Fields, Plains

Region: Rohan

Meaning: mountain wood

Other Names
Halifirien Wood
Firienholt
The Wood of Anwar
The Whispering Wood

Location: A forest on the slopes of Halifirien in the White Mountains and along the Mering Stream.

Description: In the willow-thickets where Snowbourn flowed into Entwash, twelve leagues east of Edoras, they camped that night. And then on again through the Folde; and through the Fenmarch, where to their right great oakwoods climbed on the skirts of the hills under the shades of dark Halifirien by the borders of Gondor...

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 3, The Muster of Rohan

The Halifirien was the highest of the beacons, and ... appeared to stand up alone out of a great wood; for behind it there was a deep cleft, the dark Firien-dale, in the long northward spur of Ered Nimrais, of which it was the highest point. Out of the cleft it rose like a sheer wall, but its outer slopes, especially northwards, were long and nowhere steep, and trees grew upon them almost to its summit. As they descended the trees became ever more dense, especially along the Mering Stream (which rose in the cleft) and northwards out into the plain through which the Stream flowed into the Entwash. The great West Road passed through a long cutting in the wood, to avoid the wet land beyond its northern eaves; but this road had been made in ancient days, and after the departure of Isildur no tree was ever felled in the Firien Wood, except only by the Beacon-wardens whose task it was to keep open the great road and the path towards the summit of the hill. This path turned from the Road near to its entrance into the Wood, and wound its way up to the end of the trees, beyond which there was an ancient stairway of stone leading to the Beacon-site, a wide circle levelled by those who had made the stair. The Beacon-wardens were the only inhabitants of the Wood, save wild beasts; they housed in lodges in the trees near the summit, but they did not stay long, unless held there by foul weather, and they came and went in turns of duty. For the most part they were glad to return home. Not because of the peril of the wild beasts, nor did any evil shadow out of dark day slime upon the Wood; but beneath the sounds of the winds, the cries of birds and beasts, or at times the noise of horsemen riding in haste upon the Road, there lay a silence, and a man would find himself speaking to his comrades in a whisper, as if he expected to hear the echo of a great voice that called from far away and long ago. ...

Before their coming [Halifirien] was known in Sindarin as Amon Anwar, "Hill of Awe;" for what reason was not known in Gondor.... For the few men who ever ventured to leave the Road and wander under the trees the Wood itself seemed reason enough: in the Common Speech it was called "the Whispering Wood."

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Cirion and Eorl

By this pact only a small part of the Wood of Anwar, west of the Mering Stream, was included in the realm of Eorl; but Cirion declared that the Hill of Anwar was now a hallowed place of both peoples, and the Eorlings and the Stewards should henceforward share its guard and maintenance. In later days, however as the Rohirrim grew in power and numbers, while Gondor declined ... the wardens of Anwar were provided entirely by the people of Eastfold, and the Wood became by custom part of the royal domain of the Kings of the Mark. The Hill they named the Halifirien, and the Wood the Firienholt.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Cirion and Eorl

2804-64
13. Folca. He was a great hunter, but he vowed to chase no wild beast while there was an Orc left in Rohan. When the last orc-hold was found and destroyed, he went to hunt the great boar of Everholt in the Firien Wood. He slew the boar but died of the tusk-wounds that it gave him.

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

Etymology

Elsewhere the wood is always called the Firien Wood (a shortening for Halifirien Wood). Firienholt - a word recorded in Anglo-Saxon poetry (firgenholt) - means the same: "mountain wood."

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 48

[Halifirien] is a modernized spelling for Anglo-Saxon hálig-firgen; similarly Firien-dale for firgen-dæl, Firien Wood for firgen-wudu. [Author's note.] - The g in the Anglo-Saxon word firgen "mountain" came to be pronounced as a modern y.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 33

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 25Jul04, 25Jan05

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