HASA Resources

Places in Middle-earth

Pass of Sirion

Type: Valleys, Caves, Tunnels

Region: Beleriand & North

Other Names
defile of Sirion
western pass

Location: A deep, narrow river valley cut by the mighty River Sirion just below its source at Eithel Sirion, between the Mountains of Shadow on the west and the highlands of Dorthonion on the east; the westernmost of the three gateways into Beleriand from the North.

Description:

The Vale of Sirion.
The Vale of Sirion, by JRR Tolkien.
Between Dorthonion and the Shadowy Mountains there was a narrow vale, whose sheer walls were clad with pines; but the vale itself was green, for the River Sirion flowed through it, hastening towards Beleriand.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 14, Of Beleriand and its Realms

[The] mighty river Sirion... rose at Eithel Sirion and skirted the edge of Ard-galen ere he plunged through the pass, becoming ever fuller with the streams of the mountains.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 14, Of Beleriand and its Realms

Finrod held the Pass of Sirion, and upon the isle of Tol Sirion in the midst of the river he built a mighty watch-tower, Minas Tirith....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 14, Of Beleriand and its Realms

Down the ancient road [to Nargothrond] they came that led through the long defile of Sirion, past the isle where Minas Tirith of Finrod had stood, and so [south] through the land between Malduin and Sirion, and on through the eaves of Brethil to the Crossings of Teiglin. Thence the road went on into the Guarded Plain....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 21, Of Túrin Turambar


Strategic Significance
The Pass of Sirion was the easternmost of the three routes Morgoth's hosts could use to enter Beleriand. (The other two were the very narrow Pass of Aglon and Maglor's Gap.)

Because of its strategic position, the Pass of Sirion is mentioned in accounts of several battles and minor actions.

Commentary by Lyllyn

Dagor Aglareb, the Glorious Battle:

[The] Iron Mountains vomited flame; and Orcs poured forth across the plain of Ard-galen. Thence they thrust down the Pass of Sirion in the west....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 13, Of the Return of the Noldor

Dagor Bragollach, the Battle of Sudden Flame:

Barahir... was in the fighting farther westward, near to the Pass of Sirion. There King Finrod Felagund, hastening from the south, was cut off from his people and surrounded with small company in the Fen of Serech; and he would have been slain or taken, but Barahir came up with the bravest of his men and rescued him....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 18, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin

The fell sons of Fëanor were broken and wandered far away in the woods.... The Gorge of Aglon was filled with Orcs, and the Hill of Himring was garrisoned by soldiers of Angband; the pass of Sirion was pierced and Tol-sirion1 retaken and its dread towers rebuilt....

The War of the Jewels, HoME Vol 11, Part 1, The Grey Annals

For nigh on two years after the Dagor Bragollach the Noldor still defended the western pass about the sources of Sirion....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 18, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin

[Though Morgoth] held Dorthonion and the Pass of Sirion, the Eldar recovering from their first dismay began now to regain what they had lost.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 18, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin

[Beren] rode northward again with all speed to the Pass of Sirion, and coming to the skirts of Taur-nu-Fuin he looked out across the waste of Anfauglith and saw afar the peaks of Thangorodrim.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 19, Of Beren and Lúthien

Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the Battle of Unnumbered Tears:

In the morning came hope, when the horns of Turgon were heard as he marched up with the main host of Gondolin; for they had been stationed southward guarding the Pass of Sirion....

Húrin and Huor and the remnant of the house of Hador stood firm with Turgon of Gondolin, and the hosts of Morgoth could not yet win the Pass of Sirion....

Turgon... retreated towards the Pass of Sirion; and his captains Ecthelion and Glorfindel guarded the flanks to right and left, so that none of the enemy should pass them by.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 20, Of The Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad

The Fall of Nargothrond:

Gelmir and Arminas... brought tidings of a great mustering of Orcs and evil creatures under the eaves of Ered Wethrin and in the Pass of Sirion; and they told also that Ulmo had come to Círdan, giving warning that great peril drew nigh to Nargothrond....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 21, Of Túrin Turambar

Now Túrin coming down from Ered Wethrin sought for Finduilas in vain, roaming the woods beneath the mountains, wild and wary as a beast; and he waylaid all the roads that went north to the Pass of Sirion....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 21, Of Túrin Turambar


Notes
1This text is from one of Tolkien's early drafts; the name is an earlier version of the proper name as published in The Silmarillion.

Contributors:
Lyllyn 19Feb05
Elena Tiriel 10Dec07

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