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Things of Middle-earth

Thror's Map

Type: Artifacts


The map given to Gandalf by Thror before his death as a prisoner in Dol Guldur:
Thror's map.
Thror's map, with the secret entrance to the Lonely Mountain marked in red.
On the table... [Gandalf] spread a piece of parchment rather like a map.

'This was made by Thror, your grandfather, Thorin.... 'It is a plan of the Mountain.'

'I don't see that this will help us much,' said Thorin disappointedly after a glance. 'I remember the Mountain well enough and the lands about it. And I know where Mirkwood is, and the Withered Heath where the great dragons bred.'

'There is a dragon marked in red on the Mountain, said Balin, 'but it will be easy enough to find him without that, if ever we arrive there.'

'There is one point that you haven't noticed,' said the wizard, 'and that is the secret entrance. You see that rune on the West side, and the hand pointing to it from the other runes? That marks a hidden passage to the Lower Halls.'

'It may have been secret once,' said Thorin, 'but how do we know that it is secret any longer? Old Smaug had lived there long enough now to find out anything there is to know about those caves.'

'He may — but he can't have used it for years and years.'


'Because it is too small. 'Five feet high the door and three may walk abreast' say the runes, but Smaug could not creep into a hole that size, not even when he was a young dragon....'

'It seems a great big hole to me,' squeaked Bilbo.... 'How could such a large door be kept secret from everybody outside, apart from the dragon?' he asked....

'In lots of ways,' said Gandalf. 'But in what way this one has been hidden we don't know without going to see. From what it says on the map I should guess there is a closed door which has been made to look exactly like the side of the Mountain. That is the usual dwarves' method....'....

'Also,' went on Gandalf, 'I forgot to mention that with the map went a key....'

The Hobbit, Ch 1, An Unexpected Party

'I have often wondered about my father's and my grandfather's escape. I see now they must have had a private Side-door which only they knew about. But apparently they made a map, and I should like to know how Gandalf got hold of it, and why it did not come down to me, the rightful heir.'

'I did not 'get hold of it,' I was given it,' said the wizard....

'Thrain your father went away on the twenty-first of April, a hundred years ago last Thursday, and has never been seen by you since—'

'True...,' said Thorin.

'Well, your father gave me this to give to you; and if I have chosen my own time and way of handing it over, you can hardly blame me, considering the trouble I had to find you. Your father could not remember his own name when he gave me the paper, and he never told me yours; so on the whole I think I ought to be praised and thanked. Here it is,' said he handing the map to Thorin.

'I don't understand,' said Thorin....

'Your grandfather,' said the wizard slowly and grimly, 'gave the map to his son for safety before he went to the mines of Moria. Your father went away to try his luck with the map after your grandfather was killed; and lots of adventures of a most unpleasant sort he had, but he never got near the Mountain. How he got there I don't know, but I found him a prisoner in the dungeons of the Necromancer.'

'Whatever were you doing there?' asked Thorin with a shudder, and all the dwarves shivered.

'Never you mind. I was finding things out, as usual; and a nasty dangerous business it was. Even I, Gandalf, only just escaped. I tried to save your father, but it was too late. He was witless and wandering, and had forgotten almost everything except the map and the key.'....

'The one thing your father wished was for his son to read the map and use the key.'

The Hobbit, Ch 1, An Unexpected Party

'[Show] me now your map!' [Elrond] took it and gazed long at it, and he shook his head; for if he did not altogether approve of dwarves and their love of gold, he hated dragons and their cruel wickedness, and he grieved to remember the ruin of the town of Dale and its merry bells, and the burned banks of the bright River Running. The moon was shining in a broad silver crescent. He held up the map and the white light shone through it. 'What is this?' he said. 'There are moon-letters here, beside the plain runes which say "five feet high the door and three may walk abreast".'

'What are moon-letters?' asked the hobbit full of excitement....

'Moon-letters are rune-letters, but you cannot see them,' said Elrond, 'not when you look straight at them. They can only be seen when the moon shines behind them, and what is more, with the more cunning sort it must be a moon of the same shape and season as the day when they were written.... These must have been written on a midsummer's eve in a crescent moon, a long while ago.'

'What do they say?' asked Gandalf and Thorin together,....

'Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks,' read Elrond, 'and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's Day will shine upon the key-hole.'....

[Said Gandalf,] 'Is there any more writing?'

'None to be seen by this moon,' said Elrond, and he gave the map back to Thorin....

The Hobbit, Ch 3, A Short Rest

Still Anonymous, 27Feb04
Elena Tiriel 27Sep05, 14Apr10

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